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Eliminating Child Labour in Nigeria is a must

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By Mercy Kelani

A baby-making factory was exposed in Abia State by Army troops.

It was found in a recent raid of a baby-making factory by the Nigerian Army troops in Abia State that raised the issues of child trafficking and child labour in the country. However, the federal government and state governments categorically paid little attentive to the pressing issues. It has been reported across the country that children are subjected to different forms of labour, child labour such as commercial sexual exploitation, usage in armed conflict, quarrying, and artisanal Mining.

To curb this situation, authorities are called to action for immediate engagement to tackle the issues before it leads to an uncontrollable disaster. From the report on Abia on June 5, the disturbing incidents were reported in an intelligence report which led the Army’s 14 Brigade, Ohafia to raid a private compound around Umunkpei Nvosi in Isiala-Ngwa Local Government Area. From the report, a baby factory was discovered with a description of their operations seeming like Livestock farming where they keep and groom young girls to breed babies for profit. A total of 22 ladies were rescued from the factory —21 ladies were pregnant — and two babies, a boy and a girl. The chef at the factory, Katherine Ngwanma, a 34-year-old woman, was arrested.

A nine-year-old live-in maid was beaten to near blindness.

The International Labour Organisation stated that not less than 15 million children are reported to engage in child labour in Nigeria, which is a total of about 25 percent in Africa. The residents in Abia State stated that the perpetrators sell children to criminal Ritual agents or traffickers. During the visitation of Governor Alex Otti and his wife to the factory, he affirmed that there would be practical and strong measures taken by the federal and state governments to cease the operation of the evil business.

Child abuse and trafficking has been prevailing in the country despite public dissatisfaction and even after the reported incident. In Nnewi, Anambra State, a nine-year-old live-in young maid was reported to have been mercilessly beaten resulting to broken bones by a 25-year old woman, a mother of twins, for the crime of mistakenly dropping one of the twins while carrying them. The videos of the beaten girl with her almost blind eyes went viral attracting public anger. The injury was inflicted on the girl by her “madam” through consistent usage of wire, cane and pestle to beat her with.

World Day Against Child Labour to eliminate child labour, globally.

Contrary to the Child Rights Act which states that children from age 6 to 15 must go to school, the girl was prevented from attaining formal Education during the time she stayed with this lady. Parents are, therefore, advised to deceit from giving out their children for wages as houseboys or maids because it makes them crime accomplices. In addition, the effect of these children working also leads to an increase in indoctrination, Kidnapping, child soldiers by some terrorist like Boko Haram/ISWAP and bandits in North-West and North-Central states.

On June 12, 2023, the World Day Against Child Labour was celebrated with the theme “Social Justice for All: End Child Labour!”. Nigeria was urged to observe the world celebration for global elimination. In addition, the 1999 constitution clearly guaranteed the rights to health, education and protection which have been adopted as universal basic rights with Nigeria’s signatory and sealed by International treaties. According to the ILO’s “World of Work Report, over 160 million children are engaged in this habit in unhealthy conditions.

UN SDGs 8.7 seeks to eliminate child labour by 2025.

United Nations asserted that Africa has the highest rank among regions of child labour with 72 million children engaged in it — 20 percent of its children — while Asia-Pacific ranks the second position, with 62 million and 7 percent. The UN Sustainable Development Goals 8.7 to eliminate underage workers by 2025 was adopted by many countries with different policies such as the Nepal’s government which endorsed an agreement with the country’s 1,100 brick-making factories which had a total of 300,000 children employees in 2018 to put an end to employing children. Similarly, Egypt collaborated with international agencies, civil servants and business communities to stop child labour.


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