Published On: Tue, May 21st, 2019

Child Labour: Bridging the gap between tomorrows’ leader

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By Kareem Itunu Azeez

By the end of 2018, the number of Nigerians living in abject poverty, had risen to swaggering number of 90.8 million, even though the country boast a minimal economic growth rate, Some kind of better rate since the year 2015, an impressive quarter 4, ratio. Unfortunately, the margins of poverty level had delve into sizzling issues, which has led to various multiple tragedies of which one of its expected survival mode is child labour.
If you currently survive on less than a dollar a day, you definitely would be among the 90.8 million Nigerians out there struggling to survive, if you are a single mother, or father, this automatically means catering for your child is extremely demanding, otherwise impossible, there are few options to survive therefore in an angry environment. You likely will beg, and if pride engulf your method of reasoning, your child might be at the receiving end. He or she will engage in petty trade to survive under harsh conditions.
That is the level where forced labour is enshrined in the lifestyle of your children out of their will.
When I trudge through the streets of Lagos, particularly under the bridges what I see made me question the sustainable development goals as envisioned by the United Nations, Nigeria particularly might never get to such fit, even if it is eleven years from now, as per the United Nations. With whimpering education system, poverty at a geometrical rise, bad governance and greedy politicians, the future seems bleak, and the expected tomorrow leaders are but an illusion to the theories we have been made to drink from since the early 1960.
43% of Nigerian children engaged in child labour, even as at this may 2019, a country that boast to be the giant of africa, even worst still, is how we are to tackle this menace, since there is no policy that goes against such in our country, legislation upon legislation, bills upon bills, non has even been raised to look into this shattering act which the future of the country rest upon. When children between the ages of 5-17 engages in forced labour, especially when their population is even larger than the lucky few, there is bound to be trouble, in the not too far future, automatically more of the ills of today will multiply, there hopefully will be more kidnapping, more violent, more disrespect, more downward turn of moral support, we can only expect some form of magic like building castles in the air, preventing this forseeable future. -A future with dead hope.
We need to understand the meaning of child labour in this context, and also blend it with the phrase, “Tomorrows’ Leaders ” what thereforeis child labour? The dictionary euphemistically tells us, it’s the work or job done by a minor which is usually prohibited. It fails to lay emphasis on the fact that such works are often against the will of the child.
Let us remember the millions of children sent out by their parents, or temporary guardians to fend for themselves under unavoidable circumstances will see things differently, their minds are supposed to be in homes where they are psychologically trained in a positive dimension, but a child used to see abuse of the sexes at a tender age will likely not value human decency, a young boy who has witnessed deaths through daggers would understand easily that the dagger is the only source of protection, a child who has witness tender girls mercilessly raped under bridges, and while the culprits are not punished will feel security only in the arms of such people, children who are taught the acts of pickpocketing becomes the legends of thieves tomorrow . Under the bridges is where their lives are formed, the dark society is only dominant in places such as this and when they see the world, they view it as a jungle and other creatures are but prey to them. Where then is the tomorrow leaders we are clamouring for.
Bridging the gap between tomorrows leader, can therefore be possible only if this issues are treated with iron hands, but a reminder is that, around the world, away from Nigeria, reports has it that, over 152 million children are engaged in child labour, and almost half of them are already in its worst form, as per the report from the “UNICEF/ILO 2012 – 2016 Global Estimates, entitled: “Child labour: Results and Trends”,this but also hamper the potential target of the development goals globally how much more Nigeria, a place where truth and justice is known but often neglected.
Nevertheless, Nigeria as a sovereign state, blessed beyond rubies but still Wallows in destitution, still can break this bondage, but through measures borne out of determination, this determination has never rise due to the society we found ourselves. But if we must save the future, today then I start by challenging the youths, the larger bulk of the problem is in the elected leaders of the country, and judging by the game politics today, they are simply corruptly fixed there. This implies the most important battle is how to decamp the current crop of leaders we have.
Today’s parents are hugely to blame, apart from poyverty, some parents purposely expose their wards to the dangers of the world, unconsciously, instead of registering your children to school, some mothers walk round the streets with their child hawking, and making them listen to foul languages, on the roads of despair, this children grow up to emulate their parents, they refuse to go to school, simply because they believe there’s a shorter cut to make money.
Nigeria today is nearing breakdown, and it will be more efficient we tackle this before the country gets down on its kneel, let various government bodies do the needful, already it’s getting more severe to a point of no return. While the government is planning to pay a bumper package of 4.68, million naira to returning legislators the true legislators are out there on the streets reeling in trouble waters. There’s danger looming.

Kareem Itunu Azeez can be reached at Ikareemazeez@yahoo.com

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