The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) says about 50.8 per cent of Nigerian children, aged 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’s 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 NAN yesterday in Abuja, said the figure was alarming and worrisome in spite of all legislations.
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-East 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.
According to her, it provides opportunity for strengthening national statistical capacity, by providing technical guidance on data gathering.
She emphasised that the survey also provided statistics to complement and assess the quality of data from recent national surveys such as National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) and Nigerian General Household Panel Survey (NGHPS) conducted by the National Population Commission (NPopC).
“The high level of diverse and tedious jobs that children execute in dangerous circumstances is particularly worrying.
“These jobs include being street vendors, beggars, car washers or watchers and shoe shiners. Others work as apprentice mechanics, hairdressers and bus conductors, while a large number work as domestic servants and farm hands.
“Traditionally, children have worked with their families, but today children are forced to work for their own and their family’s survival.
“The money earned by child family members has become a significant part of poor families’ income.
“These children who work suffer from fatigue, irregular attendance at school, lack of comprehension and motivation, improper socialisation, exposure to risk of sexual abuse, high likelihood of being involved in crime.
“These children which are mostly young girls, should be in school but instead, they are in the market hawking food items because their families need the extra income,” she said.
According to her, there is urgent need for government to enforce laws on child labour in order to stem the tide and further reduce the burden.
Herdsmen kill two in Southern Kaduna
Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have killed two persons in the Southern part of Kaduna State.
The attack took place in Pasakori village, Jama’a local government area of Kaduna state.
The gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, were said to have attacked the village at about 7:00 pm on Monday.
A resident of the village said the attackers came into the community and started shooting sporadically.
He said members of the community started running in a different direction for cover, with some not even aware where the shooting was coming from.
He said in the process two people were hit by the bullets as they were running for cover and died on the spot.
He said before the people could mobilise the gunmen had escaped into the bush after the shooting which, according to him, lasted for about five minutes.
There had been relative peace in the Southern part of Kaduna for some time now.
However, Kaduna is among the states facing security challenges, especially in the Birnin Gwari area.
A few days ago three married women were abducted in the area by bandits.
Spokesman of the Kaduna state police command, Aliyu Mukhtar did not respond to phone calls put across to him.
Sultan berates religious leaders, journalists over controversial comments, actions
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Tuesday cautioned religious groups and leaders against comments that would mislead their followers into war.
Mr Abubakar gave the warning while addressing some Sokoto residents, heads of security agencies, religious leaders and journalists during a Ramadan breakfast dinner held at his palace on Monday night
The monarch cited a publication credited to some Christian leaders titled, “if Leah Sharibu dies in the hand of Boko Haram, there will be a religious war in the country” , saying such utterances were irresponsible.
He reminded such religious leaders that “terrorism has no connection to religion or ethnicity.’’
Mr Abubakar added that in the event the girl was killed by the terrorists, the Christian leaders that made the comment must be held for complicity.
“How can a leader make such comment,’’ he queried, and stressed that Muslims did not in any way connive with Boko Haram to abduct the girl or get others released.
The Sultan reminded such Christian leaders that more Muslims have been killed by Boko Haram than Christians “which even the former President Goodluck Jonathan testified to.’’
“For some section to make that comment that if she dies in the hand of Boko Haram there will be a religious war is very unfair.
“How can someone begin to attack Muslims because this innocent girl happened to be a victim of murderous terrorists?
“It means the Boko Haram group are winning the war because that is exactly what they want.
“If they hear about this and went and kill the innocent girl that means you are part and parcel of what make them to do that because they want to cause confusion in the country,” Mr Abubakar stressed.
He urged all Nigerians of goodwill to join in prayers for the safe return of the girl, and for peace and harmony across the country.
The monarch insisted that he reacted on behalf of the entire Nigerian Muslims, and urged the media to save Nigeria from war, as some media reports were inimical to peace and unity of the country.
Mr Abubakar accused the core and social media of using unverified stories and gory pictures just to raise tension and spread falsehood in the country.
The monarch cited a picture of herdsmen with guns from the Central Africa Republic which media organisations in the country always use to portray the Fulani herdsmen.
“There is no G4 riffle because it has been wiped away for long and that picture used particularly by a TV station was that of herders in Central Africa who were being terrorised by rustlers, because cattle rustling started in their country long before coming to Nigeria,” he noted.
He threatened to disown the award of fellowship on him by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in protest against continued misleading and unverified stories aired or published by members of the union.
Mr Abubakar, who is the President General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, however, stressed that the crises between Fulani and farmers were purely economic, now hijacked by a few criminal elements.
He reiterated that the criminals killing innocent people especially in the Middle Belt must be arrested and punished.
“But don’t arrest or kill innocent Fulani men just like what happened in Benue state when innocent Fulani people who were on transit, were stopped and killed by some residents of the state,” he cautioned.
The Sultan expressed fear that the killings could continue because some politicians were using it to edge out their political opponents.
“Nigerians should expose criminals in their midst, even if they are their parents or relations.
“Let’s not leave them alone, don’t hide criminal even if they are your fathers, because too much blood had been shed and this is why God is angry with us.
“I believe there are more good people than the bad ones, let the good come together and defeat the bad ones, we have done that while fighting malaria and we can do it again,” he said
He also advocated for more effective tools and welfare for security agents working round the clock to restore peace in the country.
Mr Abubakar commended the federal government for banning codeine and advocated for a law that would make illicit drug dealers and peddlers serve life sentence.
JUST IN: Buhari meets Senate delegation
President Muhammadu Buhari is meeting with 10-man senate delegation raised to address the ongoing impasse between the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Inspector-General of Police over a criminal case involving some suspected cultists.
NAN reports that members of the senate delegation included former governors of Nasarawa (Abdullahi Adamu), Gombe (Danjuma Goje) and Akwa Ibom, Mr Godswill Akpabio.
NAN observed that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Mr Ita Enang also accompanied the senators to the meeting with the president.
It would be recalled that the Senate had on May 9 passed vote of no confidence on the IGP, describing him as “enemy of democracy’’ over his failure to honour its invitations twice.
Idris, however, asked the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Joseph Habila to represent at the senate.
Senate President Bukola Saraki on Wednesday also accused the IGP of plotting to implicate him and Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara in a murder case involving some suspected cultists.
The Senate on Thursday raised a 10-man panel to meet with President Buhari over the allegation leveled against the IGP by Saraki.
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