Before delving into this discourse, it is important to describe what child labor is? Essentially, child labor refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or moral harmful. It is also important to note that child labor is a phenomenon that is not particular to Nigeria alone. However, in this discourse we shall be concentrating on Nigeria.
On the back of the description of what child labor is, child labor in Nigeria, child labor has become part and parcel of Nigeria. On a personal note, child labor has been in place for as long as I can remember. I recall with nostalgia, the thoughts that would run through my mind when I would children my age, hawking and doing all sorts of menial jobs while I went to school. At that time, I would imagine, why these children were in this state while I went to school? However., I neve got any suitable answer. However, as I got older and began to understand things more., I discovered that the government was never really concerned about child labor as they occasionally made weak attempts to curtail it while Nigerians themselves were completely indifferent to child labor as some felt that it was the lot of those children and it wasn’t their fault that they were in such state.
Although evidently saddening, the buck has to stop on someone’s table. Who is at fault for child labor that has become widespread in Nigeria? On the part of the government, it is true that we have statutes that criminalize child labor. However, most times these laws do not apply as it is evident that most times, there is no governmental will to prosecute those who indulge in child labor.
On the part of parents, a lot of parents who use their kids for child labor or send their children to places where they are used for child labor have given various excuses claiming that the poor economic situation of the country has owed to their decision to use their children for child labor. Though this excuse makes one emotional and pity their plight, one would wonder, is this excuse tenable? Should you bring children to the world when you cannot take care of them? I say No! It is totally unfair on those children and is in fact criminal of these parents to do this to their kids.
Who shares the bulk of the blame? Is it the parents or the government? Apparently, it would be unfair to apportion the bulk of the blame to one party as the parents and government have the blame. It is therefore, important that parents and the government come together to foght child labor and push it out of our society