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Child hawking

The issue of children hawking in Nigeria has been a long-standing problem that has continued to plague the country. Children across different regions of Nigeria can be seen hawking different items such as snacks, goods, and other items.

While some argue that this practice is a way of helping poor families earn extra income, others have raised their concerns about the negative effects it has on the children’s safety, education, and development.

According to a 2018 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), over 10 million children under the age of 14 are out of school in Nigeria.

Many of these children engage in street hawking as a means of survival due to poverty and the lack of access to quality education.

The report also revealed that many of these children live in rural areas, where access to basic amenities like potable water, electricity, and healthcare is limited. This situation puts them at risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Street hawking exposes children to various dangers, including accidents, sexual abuse, physical assault, and trafficking.

These children often work long hours and are exposed to harsh weather conditions without proper protective gear. Many of them also have no access to healthcare or social services.

They are susceptible to illnesses and injuries resulting from exposure to the elements and other hazards on the streets. It is not uncommon to find children with bruises and scars from accidents or violence while hawking.

Child labor is a violation of human rights, and children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, and neglect. The Nigerian government has made efforts to address the issue of child labor in the country through various legislative frameworks such as the Child Rights Act, but implementation has remained a challenge.

The Anambra State Government’s recent threat to arrest and prosecute parents whose children are caught hawking and begging on the streets is a step in the right direction.

This action will serve as a deterrent to parents and guardians who engage their children in street hawking, thereby putting them at risk of abuse and exploitation. It is essential to educate parents on the importance of sending their children to school and providing for their basic needs.

Besides, the government needs to do more to ensure that children have access to quality education and social services. This includes providing free education, healthcare, and other social services to poor families.

The government can also collaborate with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to create opportunities for children from low-income families to acquire vocational skills and training that can help them generate income without having to engage in street hawking.

Furthermore, there is a need for increased monitoring and enforcement of existing laws against child labor and abuse. The government should establish special task forces to arrest and prosecute individuals, including parents and guardians, who engage in child labor and abuse.

In conclusion, the issue of children hawking in Nigeria is a complex problem that requires urgent attention. The negative effects of street hawking on children’s safety, education, and development cannot be overemphasized.

Addressing this issue requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including the government, parents, civil society organizations, and the private sector. By working together, we can create a safe and conducive environment for all children to thrive and reach their full potential.

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