Posted by Mayowa Okekale | 25 May 2015 | 4,406 times
The issue of child trafficking and labouring may have disappeared in the public space, most especially in the knowledge faculty of Nigerian illiterate parents, but it was recently being looked into and practically thrown into the consciousness of the Nigerian public, to reawake the culprits.
Nigerian children have been exposed to an environment of varied illegal undertakings, such as: hawking, trafficking, labouring, streetism and thuggery.
It was in the light of this that the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the women department of the Network for the Defence of Child’s Right (NDCR), put up an enlightenment programme entitled ‘Awareness Creation and campaign against child trafficking and labour’ in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The enlightenment rally covered some major markets in the Akinyele Local Government Area, while taking off from Olororo, down to Ojoo, and proceeding to Moniya Garage which was the end point.
The market women and other traders were addressed and sensitised on various rights which children under 18 years are to be entitled to.
They further learnt that all actions concerning a child, his or her best interest and well-being must be given paramount consideration.
In Nigeria, it is stipulated in the constitution that every child has the rights to survival, development, protection and participation, and should not be allowed or employed to engage in any tedious work that will adversely affect his physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Little or no parents are aware of this child rights, as a result, this has made many people abuse the rights unknowingly.
Members of the organisation, during the walk, were seen with different Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials which were being used to address passersby, market women at different points, making it known to them that it is easier to build a child than to repair an adult.
During the road walk, members of the organisation took time to sensitise the public on the implications of some terrible maladies predicated on misuse of children under 18 years of age, which are prevalent in our society today.
Some of the heinous and criminal act ranges from engaging a child to hawk during school hour, admitting it as a crime against humanity; procuring any under 18 years for unlawful carnal knowledge is a jail able offence.
The Head of programme for Women Development and Child Rights Programme, Mrs Omotayo Adebayo, while speaking further on the need for the protection of child rights said: “Based on our own evaluation, issues of child trafficking and labour in Ibadan are not matters we can overlook. The engagement of young children in hawking, street begging, house-help, etcetera.”
She added: “in all action that has to do with a child, the moral upbringing is of our utmost concern. We want every child to be enrolled in school and not be engaged in anything that is detrimental to their welfare and development. Anything short of this is complete exploitation because it is not for such child’s benefit, and this is what we are campaigning against today.”
Also speaking at the rally was the General Secretary and a Street Child Enumerator under the organisation, Mr Abraham Etuk.
He said: “It is a good thing we are sensitising these sets of people on the effects and trauma that go with child trafficking and labour. Really, these are children who have the right to be in school to have a good, quality education, and necessary things that pertain to life. We are trying to tell people to say no to this criminal acts because, by this act, the children are being exposed to molestation, rituals and hard-labour that is above their age. These factors will definitely not improve their social well-being, hence we reject it outright.
“This is our own way of contributing and giving back to the society, because we want a better future for our generation and Nigeria at large.”
Some under-aged children were, in the course of the rally, caught hawking during the school hours, and were interviewed on reasons which called for their absence in their different schools. Some of these children, during a chat, disclosed that their parents sent them to hawk so that they could get the money they were asked to bring from school.
Another student, who was seen roaming about the market was as well interviewed, and said: “My parents asked me to come to this shop to learn tailoring skill because they have no money to make me further in my education. My father is late and I am presently staying with my uncle. I was attending Saint Peter’s I help him to wash clothes, plates and do some other domestic work when some other children are in schools.”
•Photo by Mayowa Okekale shows members of the JPDC during the rally walk, while sensitising the public on effects of child trafficking and labour, at the Moniya market, beside Akinyele Local Government Council, in Ibadan, recently.
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