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MICS report child labour/violent discipline

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By Mercy Kelani

Violent cases against children increased by 5% as child labour reduced by 19%.

According to the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) which was developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to assist countries in filling data gaps for monitoring human indicators, there has been a record of 5 percent increase in violent cases against children in Nigeria, between 2016 and 2021. The survey affirmed that about 90 percent of children between the ages of 1 to 14 have been a victim of at least one form of violent discipline by guardians in 2021.

The survey, an implementation of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), highlighted Cross River and Imo States as states with the highest level of violent discipline across the country, with over 90 percent. Sokoto State, on the other hand, recorded the lowest level of violent discipline with about 60 percent. Also, in 2021, the survey recorded a reduction of 19 percent in child labor; the 2016 record of 50 percent of children between 5 to 17 experiencing child labor reduced to 30 percent in 2021.

Violent discipline could lead to mental health issues, illness or death.

An earlier record by UNICEF revealed that 85 percent of Nigerian children between the ages of 1 and 14 are made to undergo violent discipline in schools, with 1 in 3 children experiencing severe physical punishment. It was also said that these violent disciplines takes place in the form of corporal punishment in institutions that are supposed to keep children safe and instill respect for human rights, helping them understand the promotion of peace and conflict resolution, through dialogue.

Violent discipline does not only cause sadness, shame, pain, fear and anger in children, it usually causes stress, changes in brain structure and function, and overloaded nervous, cardiovascular, and nutritional systems. Some research has also asserted that violent discipline could lead to long term disability, death, mental ill-health, impaired cognitive and socio-emotional development, increased antisocial behavior, criminal behavior in adulthood, aggression, poorer academic and occupational outcomes, or damaged relationships as a result of its intergenerational transmission.

Bauchi and Katsina States have the largest proportion of child labor.

The international household survey further mentioned Lagos State and Ondo State as having the lowest proportions of children involved in child labor with 10 percent and 9 percent respectively, while Bauchi State and Katsina State hold the largest proportion with about 55 percent and 50 percent respectively. The major factor behind child labor in Nigeria is poverty. In poor families, child labor is mostly the main source of income used to fend for the needs of the family.

In Nigeria, child labor is the employment of children below the age of 18 in a way that brings restriction or prevention from attaining basic education and development. Child labor exists in every state in the country but is more prevalent in some states than others. Some of the works usually done by child workers include street vendors, shoe shiners, apprentice mechanics, carpenters, barbers, vulcanizers, tailors, and domestic servants. Most children, while doing these works, are exposed to dangerous and unhealthy environments.

MICS help countries monitor progress towards SDGs.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) are household surveys that are implemented by countries under the program developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to aid the provision of internationally comparable, statistically rigorous data on the situation of children and women. The MICS has high comparison to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), while the technical teams developing and supporting the surveys are in close collaboration. The surveys also measure key indicators that permit countries to generate data for use in policies and programs, and for monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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