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Nigeria: 43 % of children involved in various forms of child labor, despite international conventions banning it

Author: Ifiok Ettang, Voice of America, Published on: 14 January 2020

‘Child Labor Still Prevalent in Nigeria, Despite Legislative Efforts’ 14 January 2020

In 2003, then-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo signed the Child Rights Act into law, to preserve the rights of children and protect them from exploitative labor. But 17 years later, millions of Nigerian children still take on physically challenging work to earn money to survive or to support their families.  In an auto-mechanic workshop in the heart of the city, 13-year-old Awwal Abdulahi and his friend are pushing a broken-down 1988 Toyota Starlet, trying to get it to start. Abdulahi has been learning how to repair cars in this workshop for the past three years.

…“I earn about a one dollar a day, Abdulahi says. “Even when I get it, I don’t spend it. I go and save it in my piggy bank so that when I need it, I use it.” There are more than 20 boys below the age of 18 working in this automobile repair workshop, many of whom do not go to school and, instead, work full time as apprentice mechanics. Their employers say they are not subjecting these children to child labor.  They say they take care of these children like they would their own.

…But legal expert Ibrahim Carson says various factors are preventing the law from being enforced. “Unfortunately, in this part of the world, poverty, and illiteracy, and cultural beliefs, religious prejudices are some of the reasons that have actually affected the efficacy of the Child Rights Act implementation in Nigeria,” Carson said. The International Labor Organization says that 43 per cent of Nigerian children are involved in various forms of child labor, despite international conventions banning it.

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