The rate at which child labour is increasing is one that gives me great concern. I read on the Facebook timeline of Cerebral Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate, First Baba Isa of how a young child was sent to hawk vegetables in Ogoja. Looking at the picture of this young child not only broke my heart , but it reminded me of how very young kids have been exposed to all forms of hawking along mjaor cities in Nigeria, especially in Abuja, Lagos, Portharcourt and other towns across the nation and Africa.
It is very disturbing that young children that should be in school have turn out to be the bread winners of their families. They are subjected to all manner of begging and hawking just to provide for their home.
These very young children are sent to hawk for their parents, wards and members of the public. A close look at this very disturbing trend is the increasing manner at which kids hawk from morning till evening. Most of them do not eat all through the day. They are exposed to harsh and unbearable conditions and in most cases they become social miscreants terrorising other members of the public because of the circumstance they find themselves.
Child labor is not just wicked, but it is senseless to think that an adult would gladly send a kid to hawk and bring returns just to meet his/her selfish gains.
Exposing children to hawking not only reduces the performance of children in school, it brings about low self esteem, inferiority complex, poor performance, and most times they drop out of school which leads to the many insecurity problems we have today in the country.
Children are the future of this country. They are the hope of tomorrow and it is only natural for any right thinking society to give them the best rather than exposing them to all manner of hazardous treatment all in order to provide revenue.
The society and the general public must protect these young kids who hawk the streets. It is barbaric to send an underage child to sell not minding the dangers he/she may face while trying to either cross the road, run along major highways, which may lead to them losing their eyes, hands, legs and other parts of their bodies.
The public must rise up against child labour which has led to arm robberies, unwanted pregnancies and other social vices.
The government has a critical role to play by enforcing laws that protect young children from hawking or child abuse or molestation.
Children should be developed positively to fit into the society and become useful to themselves and society instead of trying to exploit their right to education as children.
Prince Thomas Abi Jr.
Is A Public Affairs Analyst