Government should ensure free basic education for all to curb child labour – Lawyer


Lorine Emenike

As part of activities to commemorate World Day Against Child Labor today, 12th of June, Barr. Oroma Wobiareri Orianwo, a Legal Assistant at the Rivers State Judiciary and a member of Rivers State branch of Federation of Nigeria Female Lawyers (FIDA), has said that: “Child labour is when a child is saddled with exploitative responsibilities which Will result to the diminishing of the child’s educational values”

She blamed parents as being drivers of child labor. She said parents who do not embrace family planning in other to control the number of children they bring into the world, and so, should be blamed solely for the increase child labour in this part of the world.

Continuing, Barr. Oroma advised guardians who cannot treat nor take care of their wards or house helps as their own children to desist from taking peoples’ children as their house helps.

She added that, when a child is taken from their biological parents and are tasked with hawking/ selling of items on streets, roads, market places at hours when they are expected to be learning within educational facilities is totally inappropriate.

She said that this child labour is not only perpetrated by guardians but also parents due to poverty.

Barr. Oroma noted that victims of child labour are often molested, exposed to hard drugs while especially the female victims end up as prostitutes while the boys engage in pickpockets and other illicit activities in the society. She said victims of child labor are vulnerable to being criminals in the society.

She said in controlling and curbing child labour, the Nigerian government should ensure that primary and secondary education is made free especially in public schools, to ensure that every child in the country gets a basic education. She advised that government should also deploy monitoring team in different areas of the state to monitor the movement of children, especially those children who are found outside the school premises either wandering or selling items at hours that they are expected to be learning within their educational facilities and that the parents or guardians of defaulters should face hard penalty.

According to her, by so doing child labour will be controlled in our society. She also advised the government to build hostel facilities where kids who are found wandering around will be kept and catered for as well as the homeless in our society. She said good welfare which includes food, medicals should also be provided for those in the hostel facilities and that government should ensure that these hostel facilities are built in all of the States in Nigeria.

She said: “Awareness of what child labour really is should be created in our society by government and strict penalties for defaulters especially for parents and guardians should also be passed into law and implemented. Children who are used to lead or walk the blind at hours when they are expected to be in their classrooms should also be stopped. Children should be encouraged to acquire basic education and not to be used or laboured. Most of these children who are victims of child labour are actually very brilliant”

On her part Barr. Oluchi who is also an exco of the State branch of FIDA said child labour is when a child is subjected to do activities that diminish the child’s educationally, psychologically and socially.

She said child labour has a lot of negative effects on children. She said the child rights ACT which is a grand norm protects children from activities that will cause him/ her unnecessary hardship that will cause him/ her not to excel in education.

She added, “The Universal Basic Education had said that no child should stay without education, so if that is not felt in our society then we all have derailed from what is supposed to be.

“First of all, I want us to understand that child labour starts at home. So parents should consciously prohibit activities that result in child labour.

“Most of these children that are victims of child labour are psychologically and socially robbed, they lose the sense of belonging. They feel their biological parents and the society do not care about them so they see themselves as misfits in society. They end up as drug addicts and criminals”