Based on the available figure on the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) website, over 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, which is the highest globally.
Nonetheless, 47.7 percent are said to be girls ages 5-14 years and have never set foot in school rather are engaged in hawking.
Though the country is experiencing a deficit in the educational infrastructure, other parents, particularly in the northern region, prefer hawking for their children to being in school. The aforesaid behaviour of some parents have thrown and exposed children’s life to jeopardy.
Undoubtedly, street hawking has humongous implications for children’s physical and emotional well-being, particularly girls. It has, however, exposed them to sexual abuse, physical exhaustion, vehicle accidents, death malnourishment, drug and substance abuse, and prostitution.
Many have been victims of rape, kidnapping, ritual, trafficking, prostitution, among other, child abuse of various forms.
On this note, and in commemoration of World Women’s Day, I want to implore as well as draw the attention of the federal government to implement the Act prohibiting Children’s Hawking to bring an end to violence against women in Nigeria.
Nigeria as an insecure nation, should not allow girls hawking; it’s bizarre reading, listening, or watching rape cases on media as it’s happening daily in the nooks and crannies of the country.
It’s bad to hear that majority of the children engaged in street hawking are said to be doing it for their parents; they prefer sending them to the street to hawk to supplement their income rather than sending them to school, though others consider it as another way of getting means of survival.
Talking about law, Nigeria is a signatory to.1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was established to protect children from getting involved in any activity which impacts negatively on their health and well-being. The convention also emphasises the need for the government to protect children from exploitation.
Besides, Nigeria’s Child Rights Act has similar provisions. It says children should be protected from trafficking and or street hawking.
But, I still, wonder why the implementation of these laws is difficult for the government, even though the nation is experiencing insecurity of different forms.
Children are still being trafficked, kidnapped, raped by being pushed into the street for hawking despite the dangers associated with it.
Therefore, if indeed Nigerian government wants to reduce child abuse, trafficking, among other abuses, it should implement the Act protecting children from any form of violence.
Doing so will help to curb the menace of rape, kidnapping, drug abuse, among other security challenges, facing the nation.
Finally, I also call on individuals, parents as well as other stakeholders to watch closely the movement of those kids roaming the streets in the name of hawking so as not to fall into the hands of unscrupulous elements.
Ukasha Rabiu Magama,
Save the Nation Initiative,
Toro, Bauchi state