This is quite a revealing statistics. It was carried out June 3, 2019, by NOIPolls, an Abuja-based opinion poll company, in Nigeria.
The poll was conducted nationwide poll on Child Labour in Nigeria”, where a cross section of Nigerians expressed their views on the prevalence, knowledge, possible causes of child labour and ways to curtail this menace.
Findings revealed that about 84% Nigerians believe that the issue of child labour is prevalent in the country, claiming that they normally see children engage in various forms of labour in their respective localities.
However, data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), says the number of working children under the age of 14 in Nigeria, with an estimated population of 200million people, is estimated to be 15 million.
Dennis Zulu, country director of ILO, dropped this hint during a 2-day workshop on ACCEL Africa, held Friday May 3rd in Abuja, where he further hinted that statistics revealed that 43% of children in Nigeria aged between 5 to 10 years were involved in child labour.
It was noted that the Child Rights Act, which was passed into law in 2003, defines a child as one who is below the age of eighteen years and it categorically provides that such a child’s best interests shall remain paramount in all considerations.
16 years down the line, the poll revealed that 58% of children are engaged in street hawking, domestic work-11% and street begging-10%, across the states of the federation and Abuja.
However, opinions revealed that street begging and domestic work are highest in the northern region than in the southern region.
This may or may not be true based on the realities around this region. But, findings further revealed that some Nigerians blamed the prevalence of child labour on poverty (58 percent), parental neglect (16 percent) and bad economy (10 percent).
Moreover, most of the respondents (27 percent) from the poll recommended that more jobs should be created as the rate unemployment in the country could be a contributing factor in the issue of child labour.
In addition, 21 percent suggested that government should improve the economy, 18 percent advocated for free education amongst other recommendations.
It is therefore, important that the government and concerned stakeholders’ work together to tackle the issue of child labour by implementing more programmes to eradicate poverty and improve the conditions of workers. Government should also create an enabling environment for small scale businesses to thrive in Nigeria to improve the economy and increase the employment opportunities.