Nigeria: Five-Year-Olds Victims of Nigeria Child Labour

Abuja — SOME 15 million Nigerian youngsters, including some aged as young as five years old, are victims of the menace of child labour in Nigeria.

This is according to research by a polling agency, which corroborates findings by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Dennis Zulu, Nigeria ILO director, recently disclosed that about 43 percent of children in Nigeria aged between five to ten years were involved in child labour.

UNICEF has also stated that Nigerian children working in various fields were exposed to long hours of work in dangerous and unhealthy environments.

Most contend with insufficient food, small pay, no education and no medical care.

Research firm, NOIPolls, has backed up the findings, indicating the problem is rife despite Nigeria enacting the Child Rights Act 16 years ago.

The poll revealed that children are often seen engaged in street hawking (58 percent of respondents), domestic work (11 percent) and street begging (10 percent) among other labour activities within their localities.

Child labour is blamed on poverty (by 58 percent), parental neglect (16 percent) and bad economy (10 percent).

"Despite several measures to combat child labour, it continues to remain a great concern in Nigeria," NOIPOlls stated.

The Child Rights Act, which was passed into law in 2003, defines a child as one who is below the age of 18 years.

"Sixteen years after being incorporated into Nigerian law, the child labour situation has remained a major issue as millions of children are still engaged in child labour activities," NOIPolls stated.

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