Combatting Child Labour in Nigeria: Urgent Measures Required to Protect Vulnerable Children



A recent report has revealed a distressing reality in Nigeria, indicating that an astonishing 50 percent of children in the country are subjected to child labour. This revelation has sparked strong reactions from various stakeholders who have expressed their deep concern and labeled the situation as completely unacceptable.

During a public lecture held in Awka, which aimed to empower women leaders from different communities, participants unanimously identified child labour as a grave issue. They defined it as any form of work that robs children of their freedom during childhood and disrupts their ability to attend regular schooling.

Distinguished guests in attendance at the lecture included the former governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Ify Obinabo, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Paul Nwosu. Together, they emphasized that child exploitation is globally condemned by legislation, yet countless Nigerian children are still denied their basic rights and forced into inappropriate working conditions, incompatible with their age and aptitude.

The causes of child labour were thoroughly examined during the lecture. Poverty emerged as a leading factor, alongside polygamy, the lack of family planning, broken homes, adherence to tradition, and misguided mentalities. Despite the existence of governmental interventions and protective laws, children continue to suffer from various forms of abuse and forced labor.

The stakeholders expressed deep concern and raised thought-provoking questions about the prevailing conditions that enable child labour to persist in certain parts of Nigeria. They emphasized the urgency of addressing these issues promptly and effectively, as Nigeria owes its children an immeasurable debt, particularly those who have been betrayed by the nation’s significant failures, despite promising so much.

“Why should Nigeria’s youngest citizens, who hold the key to a brighter future, be subjected to exhausting labor when they should be attending school and equipping themselves with the necessary tools to build a peaceful and prosperous nation?” they passionately questioned.

Dame Virgy Etiaba, in particular, called upon the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to prioritize the welfare of children in his government’s agenda. This urgent plea underscores the need for swift and decisive action to protect Nigerian children from the clutches of child labor, ensuring they have the opportunity to enjoy their childhood and acquire the education that will shape their future.

In conclusion, the alarmingly high rate of child labor in Nigeria demands immediate attention from authorities, organizations, and society as a whole. The voices of concerned stakeholders are united in their call for urgent action to eradicate this grave violation of children’s rights. By prioritizing the welfare and education of children, Nigeria can pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future, allowing its youngest citizens to thrive and contribute to the nation’s development.


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