Child Labour: Nigeria sitting on a time bomb – Facilitator

Facilitator at the 4-day Stepdown Workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FML&E) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) for staff of National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Media practitioners in Niger state, Chinwendu Nnadozie has cautioned against increasing child labour and its worst forms in Nigeria.

Nnadozie regretted that many Nigerian children today were denied quality education, lack of parental care and support.

These and many more, according to her ,were indications that the future of the country is very bleak if nothing is done, and urgently too to check the trend.

“Many under-aged children instead of being in school work in mines where they are paid peanuts by their masters, what this simply mean is that Nigeria will have more uneducated and unskilled youths in future and that is why the campaign against child labour,” he said.

Nnadozie, who spoke on the topic, ‘Investigative Journalism a tool for eradicating Child Labour’, encouraged fellow journalists to target their reports at unravelling perpetrators of Child Labour and bring them to book through indebt investigation to serve as deterrent to others.

“Concerted efforts should also be made to engage relevant stakeholders, including religious and traditional rulers on the need for general re-orientation among families, communities and as well political leaders on the need to end child Labour at grassroots level.

“Security challenges Nigeria is grappling with today is basically due to neglect of children of yesterday who are today adults, adding that, “If we fail to get it right or correct it today by ensuring that children are properly cared for, we will be having bigger trouble tomorrow,” Nndozie stated.

“It is not just about blaming the government for everything but we need family reorientation. We are looking out for people with positive mind to change the narratives, eliminate child labour from the different segments of the Nigeria society.

“With available reports on how children are being used as cheap labour by miners, couples and even some religious leaders, it is clear that Nigeria is sitting on time bomb with the number of uneducated and unskilled labour if nothing is done and urgently too to check the trend,” the facilitator further said.

Also speaking, Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa (ACCEL AFRICA) Project representative, Mrs. Betchi Wamyil-Adagadzu, observed that, “when children are not properly taken care of today, they turn out to become problems tomorrow.”

“The message is simply, parents/guardians should not fail in their God given responsibility of taking change and caring for their children. It will simply result in system failure tomorrow when it is thier time to lead”, Betchi said as she emphasised the need for the media to sensitise Nigerians on the impending dangers ahead.

“After this stepdown workshop, I expect to see journalists make positive noise by also Stepdown what they have learnt in the past four days to their immediate families, environment, community and to members of their associations to see that there is a positive behavioural change on the elimination of child Labour in Nigeria,” Wamyil-Adagadzu said.

While calling on the federal, state and local governments to strengthen their political will towards eradicating Child Labour, she encouraged religious leaders and traditional rulers to work hand in hand with all other relevant stakeholders to achieve desired objectives.

Also speaking, the desk officer, Child Labour Unit, FML&E, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu Mohammed expressed dismay that most of the children working in various sectors of the economy were either victims of trafficking, forced or bounded labour subjected to both national and international flows, mostly within the ECOWAS region.