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In recent times, there has been an increase in the incidence of child labour as an aspect of child neglect. Child labour is understood as any work that deprives children, of their potential and their dignity, which is harmful to their physical and mental development.
Child labour is a serious and contentious issue throughout the developing world as it is demeaning and damaging to a child’s health and intellectual development. The rise in its rate in Nigeria could have been a consequence of the demand for cheap labour and poverty. However children have always worked in Nigeria, the philosophy of most cultures in Nigeria encourage children to work with their families, learning skills they would need as adults. But today children are forced to work for their own and their family’s survival. That is to say that in some regions child labour has persisted or reconstituted from the customary into the exploitative. Low wages, irregular hours of employment, exploitative slavery, and atrocious working conditions all characterize child labour in Nigeria.
This is not without effect because it could lead to mass drop out from primary and secondary schools, involvement in crimes, and drug related habits; hamper human capital development and the potentials of our developing country Nigeria.
However efforts are being made by the international conventions, national legislation and various time-bound programmes to eliminate child labour in Nigeria but it has remained difficult to tackle.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It has been observed that child labour is caused mainly by poverty and is exacerbated by cultural practices, large families and lack of education. Most children who work do not work on their volition but do so because their parents force them. A few exceptions are children who prefer to work than to attend school.
Working could put children at a disadvantage, physically, mentally, economically and socially. Working children are in many cases totally or partially deprived of primary and/or secondary schools education. Totally because they are taken out of school permanently, and partially because they go to school but are absent some days to work or go to school every day but have little or no time to study at home due to their work.
Education, as we know, is the key to success, therefore when a child is uneducated and ignorant; he may not do well in the society, and in future poverty will continue to perpetuate in that family. It is also possible that the vicious cycle of child labour will continue.
Physically children are not small adults and so they do not know the technique used in doing things and sometimes they may want to do things well and then over do it. They encounter a lot of accidents in their work with sharp objects, machines and some of them inhale harmful substances in their places of work. When this person grows he will find it difficult to provide for his or her family not to talk of helping in the development of the country.
The working children have very little time to play and socialize with others as a consequence they may not develop to be productive and they will always feel inferior where others are. All these affects the larger society because in future there will be a delay in the development of the country due to lack of human capital and also high crime rate which will lead to the need for more protection of life and properties in the society. Sexually exploited and abused children are also vulnerable to contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STD’S) including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. Thus, the way children are being molested, maltreated, violated and denied of their basic education constitute the problem of this study. The problem will be thoroughly studied and investigated to be able to highlight its root cause and the way forward for the eradication of child labour in Nsukka urban and Nigeria at large.
1.3 Purpose of the study
This work is aimed at
• Identifying the extent of child labour in Nsukka Urban
• A critical examination of the factors that influence children’s involvement in labour
• Evaluating some written documents on child labour in Nigeria.
• Examining the effects of child labour on the child and the society at large.
• Enumerating some possible ways to eradicate child labour in Nigeria.
1.4 Research methodology
A multiple method of research has been adopted in this study. The researcher made extensive use of both primary and secondary sources in obtaining pieces of information. Books, journals, articles, encyclopedia, dictionaries, Newspapers, magazines, unpublished projects works, periodicals and internet materials were consulted as secondary sources materials.
The researcher made use of direct and indirect interviews, group discussions and personal reflections. The idea gotten from the interview was cross examined with the literal works and the end product is the work.
However the descriptive method of research was mostly used in this work. The Descriptive method describes or classifies specific dimensions or characteristics of individual, group, situation, or events by summarizing the
commonalities found in discrete observations. According to Fawcett et al (1986) descriptive methods are needed when very little is known about the phenomenon in question. It also involves the observation of a phenomenon in it’s natural setting. Flagg (1990) reports that observation is especially useful with children, because they frequently produce verbal and non verbal behavior from which one infers their comprehension of things. Data are gathered by participant or non participant observation as well as interviews. Descriptive method also encompasses case studies for intensive and systematic investigation of many factors for a small number of individuals, a group, or a community.
The descriptive research method is therefore preferred for the purpose of this present research for the following reasons;
1. The method is best suited for unraveling the issue of child labour in Nsukka as it allows the researcher to critically observe the situation in its natural setting.
2. The approach is through its attitude of detailed description able to assist the researcher by providing insight into the essence and structure of the phenomenon under study.
3. The method yields a description of processes occurring in social situations. It helps the researcher to constantly compare every piece of
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