News / Africa

Despite Bans, Child Labor Prevalent in Nigeria

Boy loads gold rocks into a crushing machine at a local goldmine in Bagega village, northeastern state of Zamfara, Nigeria, Aug. 14, 2013.
Boy loads gold rocks into a crushing machine at a local goldmine in Bagega village, northeastern state of Zamfara, Nigeria, Aug. 14, 2013.
Iliya Kure
— Ten years after Nigeria adopted international prohibitions on child labor into law, millions of children in the country are still engaged in child labor activities.
 
The International Labor Organization estimates that about 25 percent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of 14 are now in the work force.
 
Most of the children are involved in domestic work such as cooking, gardening, collecting water, caring for other children and household cleaning.
 
Amina, 13, is one of them. Her father died when she was 10 and her mother gave her away when it became impossible for her to maintain a household in the northern city of Kano. Amina now works there as a household helper.
 
Talking about her experience, Amina gives a rundown of what she does on a typical day: "I wake up at 5 a.m. in the morning and start my day by fetching water for the house from a well in the neighborhood. I fill a drum with the water, and by 6 a.m. I have to bathe the two children of the house and prepare them for school.
 
"After that, I then wash plates and sweep the house," she said. "When the children are gone to school and my masters gone to work, I wash the children's clothes and cook lunch for them before they return from school."
 
"Sometimes I go to the market and buy things for the house, and anytime I get it wrong I am severely beaten, as if I am not a human being,” Amina said, adding that she hopes for the opportunity to attend school herself, and escape the hardship of manual household labor.
 
Girl hawks drinking water packed in sachets along street after days of religious clashes in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, Aug. 4, 2009.Girl hawks drinking water packed in sachets along street after days of religious clashes in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, Aug. 4, 2009.
x
Girl hawks drinking water packed in sachets along street after days of religious clashes in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, Aug. 4, 2009.
Girl hawks drinking water packed in sachets along street after days of religious clashes in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, Aug. 4, 2009.
While Amina is working in a city, many other children are taken to farms where they work long hours weeding in gardens or cultivating crops. Still others become roadside hawkers or collect firewood.
 
Roadside hawking is especially popular for young girls, many of whom help supplement the family income. Many of the girls report being raped.
 
Movement to end practice
 
The prevalence of child labor is raising concern among activists who are calling for new programs and tougher laws to control the problem. Among them is the Nigeria-based League of Democratic Women, which has become a key actor in efforts to end child labor in the country.
 
"Those subjected to child labor are under the control and mercy of their masters, as they rarely have access to education and are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse," said Abel Adejor, a League official who called better parenting the key to addressing the problem.
 
"Every parent is responsible to provide for the needs of their child until they reach maturity," he said, noting that three girls recently rescued from forced labor were all under the age of 12.
 
Not all states on board
 
In 2003, Nigeria passed a Child's Rights Law that was designed to incorporate into its laws all the rights guaranteed in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.N. convention, adopted in 1959, states that: “The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He ... shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.”
 
Though the U.N. convention was signed by Nigeria as a nation and its provisions incorporated into federal law, it was not incorporated by all of Nigeria’s 36 states. For that to happen, the Houses of Assembly of each state must pass it into law. As at now, 24 of the 36 states have done so.
 
All but one of the states that have not incorporated the U.N. convention into its local laws are in northern Nigeria, where child labor is common.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid