CHILD LABOUR POLL: Poverty, Bad Economy, And Parental Neglect Blamed for The Incidence of Child Labour in Nigeria.

Abuja, Nigeria 10th June 2021 – June 12th every year is a day set aside by the United Nations and International Labour Organisation as the Child Labour Day which is a day set aside to identify with children who are caught in the web of the excruciating ventures of all forms of child labour around the globe. The day also seek to showcase the progress made so far in the fight against the menace of child labour and buttress the need to bring it to a grinding halt. It is an opportunity to call on all stakeholders on the fight against child labour to intensify effort towards eradicating the menace that has robbed a lot of children of a glorious and productive future. Additionally, the Child Labour Day seek to encourage actions towards achieving the SDG 8.7 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.[1] The SDG 8.7 states thus “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”[2].

To commemorate the Child Labour Day, NOIPolls conducted a survey to gauge the opinion of Nigerians on child labour and the result revealed that 88 percent of Nigerians believe that child labour is prevalent in Nigeria while 12 percent mentioned that it is not prevalent. This further corroborates the findings of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which states that there are 152 million children in the whole world engaged in child labour while there are 15 million children undergoing different forms of child labour in Nigeria which is the highest in West Africa[3].

The poll results which further revealed that 85 percent of respondents stated that they see children engaged in child labour within the North-East, South-East and South-South all tied at 92 percent, having the highest proportion of respondents who stated that they see children engaged in child labour in their locality. The Child Rights Act which was passed into law in 2003 stated that a child is one who is below the age of eighteen years, and it provides that the interest of such shall be paramount in all consideration. It is disappointing to note that eighteen years after incorporating the Child Rights Act, millions of children have continued to be involved in child labour in the country. This can be buttressed with findings from the poll which revealed that children are often seen engaged in different forms of labour which include; Street hawking (55 percent), Domestic work (14 percent), Street begging (9 percent) and Construction site (7 percent).

More findings revealed that poverty (55 percent) is the main cause of child labour in Nigeria. This is followed by bad economy and Parental neglect (12 percent each), to supplement for the family income (6 percent), unemployment (5 percent), population increase and illiteracy (4 percent) amongst others.

Subsequently, respondents were asked what should be done to end child labour in the country and the poll result revealed that 26 percent of the respondents are of the opinion that creating jobs is the solution to the problem of child labour. Other recommendations include; encourage free education (23 percent), improve economy (18 percent), poverty alleviation (15 percent) and child welfare (8 percent) amongst other solutions proffered. Lastly, 70 percent of the respondent disclosed that the incidence of child labour in the country has increase when compared to the pre COVID-19 era. These are some of the key findings from the child labour survey conducted in the week of 24th May 2021.

Survey Findings

The first question sought to know how prevalent the issue of child labour is in the country and the survey revealed that 88 percent of respondents stated that child labour is prevalent in Nigeria, while 12 percent stated that child labour is not prevalent in the country. Analysis across geo-political zones shows that the South-South region (94 percent) has the highest proportion of respondents who stated that child labour is prevalent, and this is followed by respondents form the North-Central (90 percent). With regards to age category, those aged 36-60 (90 percent) have the highest proportion of respondents who stated that child labour is prevalent in Nigeria.

Trend analysis shows a 10 percent drop from 2013 to 2019 and 4 percent increase from 2019 to 2021 in terms of prevalence of child labour in Nigeria.

Respondents were asked if they see children in their locality engaged in child labour and the result revealed that 85 percent of the respondents acknowledged that they see children engaged in child labour in their locality with the North-East, South-East and South-South all having 92 percent of respondents who mentioned this. Also, those aged 18-35 (88 percent) have the highest proportion of respondents who stated that they see child children engaged in child labour.

Trend analysis shows a 5-point increase in the incidence of child labour from 2019 to 2021 of the respondents who stated that they see children engaged in child labour in the country.

Respondents who stated that they see children engaged in child labour in their locality were asked the types of labour they see children engaged in and the poll result revealed that street hawking (55 percent) have the highest proportion of respondents who stated that they see children participating in child labour with the South-East (69 percent) having the highest proportion of respondents and then followed by South-South and South-west all tied at 68 percent. Others include domestic work (14 percent), street begging (9 percent), construction site (7 percent), scavenging (6 percent) and farming (6 percent) amongst others.

Trend analysis shows that street hawking increased by 2 percent from 2013 to 2016 and had an 11 percent increase in 2019 though decrease by 3 percent in 2021.

The poll findings also revealed that 55 percent of respondents stated that poverty is the cause of child labour while 12 percent ascribed it to bad economy. Others include parental neglect (12 percent), to supplement family income (6 percent), unemployment (5 percent), population increase and illiteracy (4 percent) amongst others.

Trend analysis show that poverty as a reason for child labour experienced a 24-point decrease from 2013 to 2016 and then 10-points increase from 2016 to 2019 and then 3-point increase from 2019 to 2021.

Furthermore, respondents were asked if they have family members below age 18 who engage in labour/work and the poll revealed that 35 percent disclosed that they have family members who engage in farming, 29 percent mention family business, 22 percent stated auto mechanic, 18 percent mention street hawking, 16 percent said domestic help and 10 percent mentioned bus conductor amongst other activities.

Respondents were asked about the solution to child labour and the poll result revealed that 26 percent of the respondents stated that more jobs should be created while 23 percent stated that free education should be encouraged. Others include improve economy (18 percent), poverty alleviation (15 percent), child welfare (8 percent), awareness on effect of child labour (7 percent) amongst others.

Trend analysis reveals a 1 percent decrease in job creation when current result is compared the result obtained in 2021.

With regards to reporting incidence of child labour, the poll revealed that majority of the respondents (78 percent) claimed that they do not know where to report incidence of child labour in Nigeria. However, 22 percent disclosed that they are aware of reporting channels with the North-East (30 percent) having the highest proportion of respondents in this category.

Respondents were asked to compare child labour incidence before COVID-19 era and now and findings revealed that 70 percent of respondents stated that it has increased when compared to pre COVID-19 era. On the other hand, 15 percent stated that it has remained the same while another 15 percent stated that it has decreased. Analysis across geo-political zones shows that North-Central region (80 percent) have the highest proportion of respondents who stated that child labour has increased compared to pre COVID-19 era and this is followed by South-South (78 percent).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is disheartening to note that there is still prevalence of child labour in the country as indicated by 88 percent of respondents in the survey. This is calling on all stakeholders to expedite action in the elimination of child labour in the country so that the children involved can be accorded at least basic education to lead productive lives thereby making the society a better place for all. According to 55 percent of the respondents, the survey also revealed that the activity most children engage in is street hawking. Others include domestic work (14 percent), street-begging (9 percent), construction site (7 percent) amongst others, these are ventures that expose children to all forms of child labour and dangers that could threaten their lives and hence should be discouraged by all and sundry. The implementation of the child right act will go a long way in curbing this act of child labour, but unfortunately it has not been implemented by the various states concerned, therefore exacerbating the incidences of child labour.  

The survey also revealed the causes of child labour which include poverty (55 percent), bad economy and parental neglect (12 percent), to supplement family income (6 percent) among other causes. Nigerians proffered solution to the menace of child labour which include creating jobs (26 percent), encourage free education (23 percent), improve economy (18 percent) and poverty alleviation (15 percent) among other solutions. This is calling on all to implement the recommendation proffered by Nigerians which will ultimately eradicate the child labour conundrum and ultimately make our society a better place for our children who are the fulcrum and the necessary ingredient for a better society.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing May 24th, 2021. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning male and female Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians.

Nonetheless, with the country’s tele density put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach.

NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited, or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] https://www.ilo.org/ipec/Campaignandadvocacy/wdacl/2021/lang–en/index.htm

[2] https://indicators.report/targets/8-7/

[3] https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575499.pdf