Child Labour: Journalists Should Expose Perpetrators – Expert
By Suleiman isah Minna
Four days Stepdown Workshop organized by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FML&E) in collaboration with International Labour Organization (ILO) for staff of National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Media practitioners in Niger state has ended with a call on journalists to expose perpetrators of Child Labour and its worst forms.
It is regrettable that, many Nigerian children today are denied quality education, lack of parental care and support, these and many more are indications that the future of the country is very bleak if nothing is done, and urgently too to check the trend.
“Many under-aged children instead of being in school work in mines where they are paid peanuts by their masters, what this simply mean is that Nigeria will have more uneducated and unskilled youths in future and that is why the campaign against child labour”.
One of the facilitarors, Chinwendu Nnadozie on the topic, ‘Investigative Journalism A Tool for Eradicating Child Labour’, challenged journalists to target their reports at unravelling papetrators of Child Labour with the intents of bringing them to book through indebt investigation to serve as deterant to others.
Nnadozie said efforts should also be made by journalists in their reports to put stakeholders such as; religious leaders and traditional rulers to task in educating their members/subjects on the need for general re-orientation citizens on issues about child Labour especially in rural dwellers.
Security challenges bedevilling Nigeria today is basically due to the neglect of yesterday, adding that, “We failed to train yesterday’s chindren who are adults today and, if we fail to guide get it right today by ensuring that they are properly cared for, we will be having bigger trouble tomorrow”.
Ending child labour and its worst forms should be the responsibility of all Nigerians, insisting that. “The problem is not the government but among Nigerians who needed reorientation of the mind, having positive mind to lead the way in changing our psyche about child labour”.
In some states, Niger state inclusive, children are used as cheap labour by miners and farmers, this according to her should be of concerns to politicians, traditional and religious leaders to know that, “Nigeria is sitting on time bomb with the number of uneducated and unskilled youths that may be in position of authority tomorrow continue”.
Also speaking, Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa (ACCEL AFRICA) Project representative, Mrs. Betchi Wamyil-Adagadzu observed that, when children are not properly taken care of today, they turn out to become problems tomorrow.
“The message is simply, parents/guardians should not fail in their God given responsibility of taking change and caring for their children. It will simply result in system failure tomorrow when it is thier time to lead”, Betchi said as she emphasized on the need for the media to sensitize Nigerians on the impending dangers ahead.
“After this stepdown workshop, I expect to see journalists make positive noise by also Stepdown what they have learnt in the past four days to thier immediate families, environment, community and to members of their associations to see that there is a positive behavioural change on the elimination of child Labour in Nigeria”.
While calling on the federal, state and Local Governments to strengthen its political will towards eradicating Child Labour, Mrs. Betchi encouraged religious leaders and traditional rulers to work hand in hand with all other relevant stakeholders to achieve desired objectives.
Also speaking, Desk Officer, Child Labour Unit, FML&E, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu Mohammed expressed dismay that most of the children working in various sectors of the economy are either victims of trafficking, forced or bounded labour subjected to both national and international flows, mostly within the ECOWAS region.
Children within school age of, 11-15 are involved in various dangerous activities such as digging on mining sites, breaking, chiseling, heating, cracking, crushing, hammering, excavating and carrying of stones dust and sands, exposing them to the inherent hazards.