How Nigerian Children Survive On The Streets

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Local government authorities, child welfare experts, community leaders and rights activists have begun educating parents about the dangers of child labour.
Isaiah has spent 5 of his 15 years living on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, the second largest city of Africa. Like hundreds of other children, he spends his days and nights in this sprawling metropolis trying to fend for himself.
“It is not easy living on the street but what can I do?” asks Isaiah, one of 25 children who have told their stories on Nigerian national radio through a UNICEF-supported project. child labor Africa: Nigeria
“I have two sisters that I have not seen in five years, I have smoked Indian hemp like other boys of my age, got beaten by bigger boys, robbed of my money, took my bath in the canal and slept under the bridge,” Isaiah says in one broadcast. “The good thing is that I am alive!” poverty Africa Given the opportunity to go to school, Isaiah says he would like to become a lawyer. “I want to be defending people,” he explains.
The UNICEF-supported Child-to-Child Network, a non-governmental organisation, worked with Radio Nigeria to train children in radio production so they could tell their own stories. The resulting series, ‘Voices from the Street’, was broadcast to more than 60 millionaires
Some of the children in the series tell of escapes from unhappy homes, while others recall travelling to the city in search of adventure. They end up selling water packaged in plastic bags or washing the windshields of vehicles in heavy traffic.
Isaiah works as a ‘bus conductor’ – collecting fares from passengers who squeeze onto the yellow commercial buses of Lagos. He earns $5 to $6 a day.
At the age of 10, Isaiah left his home in Ogun State. A friend, who turned out to be a child-labour recruiter, invited him to Lagos along with 11 other boys. “We left home without telling any of our parents,’ Isaiah says. child labor in Africa: street children
The recruiter paid the boys’ bus fare to Lagos. Then he took the boys to the city’s biggest market and motor park “to sell them,” according to Isaiah.
“The more people he brings, the higher his ‘rank’ goes and the more money he gets paid,” Isaiah adds. “I was eventually sold to one man for a fee of 5,000 Naira [about $40’. The man took me to a place I do not know; my duty there was to be a housekeeper.” Isaiah decided to run away. He met up with other street children who showed him how to survive on his own. Poverty Nigeria
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“I started to sleep under the bridge or inside any of the buses parked under the bridge,” he says. “If mosquitoes are too many, I sleep inside the boot of the vehicles.”
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Getting the children to tell their stories was a challenge, says ‘Voices from the Street’. producer Funke Treasure Durudola. When the most taciturn of the boys finally opened up, she adds, it was the high point of her 12-year broadcasting career.
“You have to be empathetic. Connect with them first and they must connect with you, too, before you can get their story,” says Ms. Durudola.
UNICEF and the Child-to-Child Network also offered to help reunite the children with their families, or to find other rehabilitation possibilities.
Isaiah hopes his family can hear his story on the radio. “I pray that the people of my place will listen,” he says. “They will hear that I am still alive and that I am a big man now.” child labor Africa: Nigeria
October 2007 – Adefolu Olusoji is a retired civil servant and a poultry farmer in the sprawling slum of Mowe in Ogun, Nigeria. He was also among over 30 community members who participated in a recent open dialogue on avian influenza held at the Palace of Baale in south-west Nigeria.
Mr. Olusoji recently lost more than 4,000 chickens to bird flu – leaving him without income and searching for answers.
“When I retired, I felt the business I could do will be a poultry farmer, but I had no idea what to do to avoid diseases such as bird flu. My chickens started dying quickly and in large numbers,” said Mr. Olusoji.
Poverty in Africa: Nigeria
The lack of adequate information about bird flu has been a major factor contributing to its spread in Nigeria. From just a single avian influenza case in 2006, the disease now affects 97 Local Government Areas, and the threat continues to grow. Poverty Africa-Nigeria In some of the poorest provinces of Burkina Faso, villages are “haemorrhaging” their children, several local journalists reported after a recent tour through Sanguie, Nayala, Kossi and other parts of that West African nation. They uncovered a recurring story: countless children, mostly under the age of 14, have left their families in search of work elsewhere in the country or across the border in neighbouring Cote d’ivoire. Some departed “voluntarily” or at the urging of their parents to escape the severe poverty of their home areas. Others were ensnared by labour traffickers. Poverty Burkina Faso
In almost all cases, according to some of the children who managed to return, they ended up in arduous and poorly paid jobs on plantations or in domestic service, often at great risk to their health, sometimes beaten or prey to sexual predators. Eric Bationo, a child in Reo, was kidnapped in 1997 and did not come back until three years later, suffering from gangrene, according to his mother. poverty Africa: West Africa Faced with a clear increase in “such abominable practices,” stated Mr. Boniface Coulibaly, secretary-general of Kadiogo province, “the highest authorities of our country could not simply cross their arms or close their eyes.” In May, the national government ratified Convention 182 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) prohibiting the worst forms of child labour. And like a number of other countries in Africa, it launched a campaign, supported by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies, to oppose the practice.
Local government authorities, child welfare experts, community leaders and rights activists have begun educating parents about the dangers of child labour. According to the ILO, slightly more than 51 percent of all children in Burkina between the ages of 10 and 14 work, even though the labour code bars employment under 14. poverty Africa.
Across Africa, there are an estimated 80 million child workers, a number that could rise to 100 million by 2015. Since the problem is closely linked to the continent’s poverty, and can only be eliminated with increases in family incomes and children’s educational opportunities, UNICEF, the ILO and other groups are focusing initially on the “worst forms” of child labour. These include forced labour and slavery, prostitution, employment in the drug trade and other criminal activities, and occupations that are especially dangerous to children’s health and security. Africa News: child labor it is never too late! you can help save live in Africa and around the world.
Ogheneruemu is a student of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri.

Ichechemiche Ogheneruemu