Nigeria's Child Labour Crisis: 24 Million Children Engaged in Hazardous Work

Nigeria's child labour crisis: Over 24 million children aged 5-17 engaged in hazardous work, with the North-West region most affected. Urgent action needed to protect children's rights and foster sustainable development.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nigeria's Child Labour Crisis: 24 Million Children Engaged in Hazardous Work

Nigeria's Child Labour Crisis: 24 Million Children Engaged in Hazardous Work

The Nigeria Child and Forced Labour Survey 2022 has revealed an alarming statistic: over 24 million Nigerian children aged 5-17 are engaged in child labour, with 39.6% of boys and 38.8% of girls involved in hazardous work. The report, conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), found that many of these children are exposed to treacherous environments like quarrying, mining, and construction, as well as exploitation in street vending and domestic chores.

The survey also revealed that 50.5% of Nigeria's child population is in economic activity, and 22.9% are in hazardous work. The North-West geopolitical zone has the highest prevalence of child labour at 6,407,102 children, while the South-East and North-East regions have the highest percentages at 49.9% and 49.4% respectively. Cross River state had the highest incidence of child labour at 67.4%.

This alarming situation reflects deep-rooted systemic failures and societal apathy, perpetuated by factors like poverty, conflict, and lax enforcement of labour laws. The consequences of child labour are far-reaching, depriving children of their right to education and subjecting them to physical and psychological trauma.

Why this matters: The prevalence of child labour in Nigeria signifies a humanitarian crisis that demands urgent action. Addressing this issue is critical for protecting the rights and well-being of millions of children, as well as fostering sustainable development and social progress in the country.

Addressing the child labour crisis in Nigeria requires a multifaceted approach, including legislative reforms, robust enforcement, and eradication of the root causes of exploitation. Initiatives such as economic empowerment, social welfare programs, and increased access to quality education are vital to breaking the cycle of child labour and providing a brighter future for Nigeria's children. The Nigeria Child and Forced Labour Survey 2022 aims to inform policy and interventions to eliminate child labour and forced labour in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigeria's child labour crisis: 24M children aged 5-17 engaged in child labour
  • 39.6% of boys and 38.8% of girls involved in hazardous work like mining, construction
  • North-West has highest prevalence of child labour at 6.4M children; Cross River highest at 67.4%
  • 50.5% of Nigeria's child population in economic activity, 22.9% in hazardous work
  • Urgent action needed to address root causes like poverty, conflict, and lax law enforcement