Half of Nigeria’s children are child labourers, says NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) says about 50.8 per cent of Nigerian children, ages between five and 17, are involved in child labour. The NBS conducted the survey in conjunction with other partners, including the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
Child labour entails work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and deprives them of opportunities for schooling and development. Mrs. Maureen Zubie-Okolo, UNICEF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, said the figure was alarming and worrisome in spite of all legislation. Analysing the survey, Zubie-Okolo identified North-Central region as having the highest burden of child labour of 56.8 per cent followed by North-West accounting for 55.1 per cent.
South- South has 48.7 per cent; South-East 46.6 per cent, and South-West 38 per cent, respectively. She also frowned at the number of children working in hazardous conditions in the country and identified North Central as accounting for the highest number with 49.6 per cent. The UNICEF official also identified North West as accounting for 41.9 per cent of children working in hard conditions, followed by South-South 37.9 per cent; South- East 36.1 per cent; North-East 34.1 per cent and South-West 25.4 per cent in that order.
Zubie-Okolo identified the major causes of child labour as poverty, rapid urbanisation, breakdown in extended family affiliations, rate of high school drop-out and lack of enforcement of legal instruments meant to protect children. She identified one of the most common practices of child labour as the use of children as child domestics. Zubie-Okolo, who described the 2017 MIC survey as fifth in the series, noted that it helped to espouse the country’s progress and lapses in key areas of development, among others.

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