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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid