World Day Against Child Labor: STAKEHOLDERS SEEK END TO RISING CASES OF TEENAGE PREGNANCIES IN RIVERS COMMUNITY

As Nigeria joins part of world to commemorate the World Day Against Child Lobor, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA says the non enforcement of the Child Rights Law is the bane of the high rate of Child Labor and abuse in the society.

Chairperson FIDA Rivers State Branch Adata Bio-Briggs while speaking in an exclusive interview with our correspondent Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie said her administration has recorded a handful of cases of Child Labor in Rivers State.

She explained that some of the cases includes under age children made to work and given difficult task above their ages, “some of them are not even paid. There are some we have to disengage them from people they work for and reunite them with their families. Also cases of some that were not enrolled in school as promised but made to do jobs that are above them. So many child labor cases reported to us, it’s really alarming”, she explained.

Chairperson FIDA Rivers State Branch Adata Bio-Briggs while condemning the prevalence rate of teenage pregnancies and births in Kono community, described the act as child abuse and exploitation. She said the law describe the act as an offence for an under age child to give birth. “Who got her pregnant? Somebody has to pay the price for it. This is an abuse and the law frowns at it”.

Adata Bio-Briggs said FIDA RIVERS STATE BRANCH has been at fore front of sensitizing and creating awareness against such acts in rural areas. She said FIDA will respond swiftly by taking it’s sensitization program to Kono community to nip- in -the -bud the ravaging menace.

On her part, Deputy National President of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalist, Lilian Okonkwo also joined voices to say enough is not done to end child labor in the society.

Lilian Okonkwo who is also the former Chairman of NAWOJ Rivers State, while speaking on the 2022 theme of the World Day Against Child Lobor “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour,” called for Social Protection for children to help reduce the rate of the menace.

“We need social protection for children, there is serious need for this. Yes we have it in the laws, but it’s not implemented. This day gives us an opportunity to call on parents, government, NGOs to high our games in activism, sensitization and efforts in this area, to stop child labor. This is an area that is not highlighted, not much talked about, it shouldn’t be. Our children have rights to basic education and better life”, she called out.

Deputy National President of NAWOJ Lilian Okonkwo also called for on traditional rulers and stakeholders in Kono community to galvanized and put an end to teenage pregnancies and births in Kono community.

Meanwhile, an hospitality expert Joke Hephzibah Enebeli said poverty is a fundamental cause of Child Labor in the society.

Joke Hephzibah Enebeli who is also the President of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Spring Garden explained that children are forced into been potential slaves in homes just to cater for their family’s from the proceeds.

“Every mother should work hard enough to be a support where their husbands are not able to. when there is not enough for a mother to cater to their children, they send out into the streets and homes of potential slave masters . There is a line between upbringing/ discipline and child labour , the latter is saddening when the child begins to be “win the bread ” and do the chores that could be a burden for the child . I have my daughter out once to go and holiday and that was the last , she was made to wash dishes that even at home she could not , as I speak my eyes are tearing,” she wailed.

Rotarian Joke Hephzibah Enebeli said mothers and women have a great role in ending the menace. “I think mother’s should be held responsible in all honesty. Even sending a 5 year old kid to help aunties and uncles is child labour , some 5 year old children are even younger than the children that are entrusted into their care”, she said.

It would be recalled that the Chairman of Kono Apex Development Council (KADC), Honor Sirawo had earlier raised alarm over the high rate of teenage pregnancies pervading the land, calling on concerned stakeholders to act urgently to save the girl child, especially, the teenagers from the associated risks.

Honor Sirawoo while speaking in a church program in Kono community warned that available statistics show that early and unplanned pregnancies have resulted in the deaths of young, unmarried girls, describing it as a dangerous trend which has largely contributed to the high rate of social vices amongst youths due to lack of proper care of the children born therefrom.

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