Since the annulment of June 12 elections in Nigeria, very few individuals and agencies remember the date as the World Day against Child Labour. The date has also been recently pronounced as the Democracy Day in Nigeria. This will completely obliterate Child Labour from the national events of that date. In a bid to revive the spirit and also sensitize the populace, the students of Princeton Schools, Surulere, Lagos organised a road walk on the 30th of June, 2018. The walk kicked off at the school premises and had the participants walk through famous streets in Surulere like; Babs Animashaun, Bode Thomas, Adeniran Ogunsanya, Masha, Adelabu and back to school premises.
Participants of the walk included: Princeton schools management, staff, parents, students and representatives from The Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) who were on hand to lend their support to the programme.
A popular actress, Jaiye Kuti, representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour, NAPTIP, alongside the students of Princeton Schools spoke passionately on the definition, statistics and dangers inherent in Child Labour. Statistics credited to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) show that about 15million Nigerian Children are subjected to the most horrendous and the most dangerous forms of Child Labour. That is about 50% of the total population of Nigerian children. This also underscores the number of out of school children in Nigeria.
The speakers defined Child Labour as any work that is mentally, physically, emotionally, or morally dangerous and harmful to children. It is also a situation where a child is forced to earn a living for himself/herself and for the family. These child labourers are found everywhere on the streets, in the markets as well as many homes in many parts of the country where they are engaged as: house helps, street/high way hawkers, car washers (windshield cleaners), security guards (property minders), bus conductors, miners, shoe shiners to mention but a few.
The consequences and the adverse effects of Child Labour which included: emotional torture, lack of self worth, denial of access to education, poor living conditions, crass ignorance, sexual abuse, child abuse of all kinds, kidnapping, human trafficking, armed robbery attacks, road accidents, exposure to harsh weather conditions, contraction of diseases and ultimately, untimely death were also highlighted. The speeches were rendered in English, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa languages at designated points as the walk lasted.
To add life to the walk which was aimed at curbing this inhuman treatment against children, the participants wore T- shirts with the inscription, SAY NO TO CHILD LABOUR. There were placards, music and flyers given out to drive home the message.
The students called on the Federal Government to remember that the 12th of June is also the World Day against Child Labour adding that the events of the Democracy Day should also include programmes aimed at eradicating Child Labour for there can be no true democracy without freedom and there is no true freedom where Child Labour reigns supreme.
See photos from the outing below: