The Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Eyinanya Abararibe, has identified poverty as one of the major factors fuelling child labour in the country.
Abaribe spoke on Monday at a “Stakeholders 2.0 Consultation on Child Protection” forum, organised by the Child Solidarity Group in partnership with Almajiri Child Rights Initiative, at the American Corners, Ikeja, Lagos.
The senator said, “The girl child faces a higher risk than the male child because, of course, they are subjected to mostly sexual exploitation, child marriage, domestic violence, and all. Many of these children, when we are driving our cars, we see them running around and trying to sell some things. Some people don’t see it as a violation of the Child Rights Act.
“The poverty level is what leads some of the parents to send their children out to sell something to make ends meet. We have these obnoxious beliefs. The vulnerability of the children is something we have to tackle head-on for us to say we are making sure that we are taking care of our children.”
Also speaking during the second edition of the consultation, tagged “For every child; every right,” the founder of the ACRI, Mohammed Sabo, said the failure of Nigeria to address issues affecting the children showed the current laws were not efficient, describing the cause as a lack of accountability.
Sabo said, “Nigeria has failed to address issues affecting children. If you go to the northern parts of the country, there is an issue of child marriage; if you go to the southern part of the country, there is an issue of child trafficking and child labour across the country. How have all the laws we have in Nigeria been able to impact the lives of children? These laws and the country have not been able to address issues affecting children effectively.
“This is because the laws that we have are either non-implementable or not effective in the first place. The root cause of these problems is the lack of accountable governance by the political leaders. Why do we have to get into a situation where the children have to be domestic workers?”
The Chief Executive Officer, CSG, Emediong Akpabio, advised stakeholders in child rights initiatives to always consider the children when planning any intervention.
Akpabio said, “We released a report and said that children are always captured at the designed stage. We need to begin to go down to specifics and say how many children are in vulnerable groups; if we don’t do this, children will continue to miss out on intervention and implementation.”