The Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), Holy Cross Catholic Church Gwarinpa (11), Abuja, has urged the Federal Government to enforce laws that perpetuate child labour in the country.
The President of CWO, Mrs Ukpo Amoroban, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the practice continue to flourish in spite of governments good polices against it.
“Child labour has brought poor reputation to our nation today. Our main economic problem is child labour, since we began on the path of nationhood.
“As a result of this, there has been, for the past few years, steady drift away of young men to other countries. This has the chain result of our society being left underdeveloped,” she said.
She said that child labour has become widespread and occupied a preeminent position among the ills that pervade the society.
The Vice Chairperson Communication Committee of CWO, Lady Roseline Aghabalu, who spoke on the effects of child labour, said that various health risks were associated with child labour.
She said the possible long-term health problems may include various cancers caused by the dangerous chemicals they work with and respiratory disorders caused by the inhalation of dangerous things, like coal dust.
Aghabalu said the obvious effect of child labour has already been revealed; the lack of childhood.
On her part, the Secretary of CWO, Mrs Chizoba Ugwu, said that children work for a variety reasons which include poverty and a child’s need to contribute to the family’s economy.
Ugwu said that conflict and natural disasters as well as drought could also determine whether children need to work to support their families.
“Do you remember that time when you were a little kid and you came home from a fun day at school, put your book bag down, and went to play with friends outside? Then you came home, did a little bit of homework, and had a great meal with your family before watching some TV and going to bed.
“Some kids can’t even dream of that because they don’t have a normal childhood. They are forced, through one circumstance or another, into foregoing such nice memories and days because they have to work for 18 hours a day.
“They will never be able to look back, as an adult, and reminisce about days like yours. Yes, many little kids work hours on end for their entire childhood. That’s child labor, and it has very real effects on children,” she said.