Even in the 21st century, many still have difficulty distinguishing the actual definition of a child
amongst other growth ages, little wonder why a considerable number of persons in different
climes engage in child labour.
This piece thus becomes pertinent in enabling its reader to grasp the child rights act and human
rights for the girl child in Nigeria. A child, according to scholars, is a young human being that is
yet to hit adolescence. On the one hand, child labour is the employment of children in an
industry or business, especially when illegal or considered exploitative. Suffice to note that – Child labour is the unlawful act of subjecting a child to harmful work to their physical, mental, emotional health and state of mind; often, this act of labour subjection hinders the child from attending their place of learning daily.
We take Nigeria as a case study where, due to poverty, children in rural and urban communities
engage in domestic and economic activities, which are instrumental to the daily sustainability of
their families. In rural settings, the male child works on their parent farmlands or works as farm
workers for hire while the girl child hawks their farm produce. Some children work as apprentices in mechanic, tailor and hairdressing workshops at the detriment of their educational
Daily, children are seen working on streets as vendors, scavengers, beggars, car washers, mirror
holders for mobile barbers, and other money-making activities in urban settings. These economic
activities affect their performances and participation since they engage in them at the expense of
their studies and learning. This is often a result of these children leaving school prematurely or
not even attending before engaging in all these paid jobs to contribute to the financial
sustainability of their families.
Under the child labour act of 1974, this statutory act prohibits the employment of under-aged
(less than 18 years old) children to home-based agricultural and domestic work. The child labour
act of 1974 further prohibits forced labour. Despite this constitutional stance, some parents still
give out their children or indulge them in working due to the overwhelming economic pressure.
It is no secret that the Nigerian economy is almost unbearable and demanding for an
impoverished family. On the quest to make ends meet, the girl child is engaged in labours to
fetch financial income. Parents send their girl child to the big city to serve as housemaids with
their relatives while some learn crafts and handy trades. Situations like this do not end well for
the girl child as she is exposed or caught up in the big city vices. She may be used for drug
peddling, fraudulent acts, prostitution, human trafficking and other inhumane activities.
Parents and guardians still need much to empower their children with adequate and proper
education. The female gender should not be profiled as the weaker gender but instead equipped
with equal opportunities as the male gender.
SAY NO TO GENDER DISCRIMINATION.
Written by Olubusi Tunmise, Communications Associate, Citizens’ Gavel.
Edited by Taiwo Makanjuola, Communications Associate, Citizens’ Gavel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org