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World Day Against Child Labour: Foundation highlights consequences of neglect

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World Day Against Child Labour: Foundation highlights consequences of neglect

By Justina Auta

An NGO, Young Ambassadors Against Drug Abuse Initiative (YAADAI), says the neglect of street children has contributed to challenges affecting the peace and security of the nation.

The organization’s coordinator, Saifullahi Khalil-Usman, said so on Saturday in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) in Abuja, on World Day Against Child Labor 2021.

World Day Against Child Labor is celebrated around the world every June 12 to raise awareness of the harms of child labor and care for children.

According to a recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, the number of child laborers has risen to 160 million worldwide, with an increase of 8.4 million over the past four years .

Khalil-Usman said street children and the homeless, especially girls, remain among the most invisible members of the world’s population as they are often overlooked.

He added that they had forced underage children to obtain their means of subsistence by engaging in trades which exposed them to vices.

He added that “while street children are neglected, the negative consequences cannot be ignored, thus Africa has its own share of children, especially minors, roaming the streets.

“The consequence has been the growing number of child soldiers in camps for terrorists, bandits, separatists and organized armed criminal gangs.

“The child soldier syndrome in Charles Taylor camp during the Liberian civil war and child soldiers in Boko Haram camps are all fresh in our memories.

According to him, given the negative impacts of neglect of street children, it is necessary to apply state policies and laws in African countries to protect children.

“These children must be protected from neglect, abuse, trafficking, the sex trade, drugs and to increase their access to education and health,” he said.

He noted that the organization, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was committed to fighting and raising awareness on the use of illicit drugs by young people and children, especially those on the streets.

He said that YAADAI was forced to inaugurate the Parliament of Street Children to enable the voices of these children to reach the relevant authorities, with positive consequences in their lives.

“I was very touched when I found out that street children were not part of the Children’s Parliament, a platform for children to have their voices heard.

“So, one can ask rather rhetorically, aren’t they Nigerian children? So now we can say without contradiction that because they are on the streets and their voices are lost, their future seems hopeless.

The coordinator explained that the organization has introduced a 30-minute magazine on street children broadcast on Radio Nigeria’s network service to unravel the conditions of the Nigerian child, with a view to proposing a solution to the situation.

He therefore stressed the need for sustainable programs to meet the challenge of street children by providing them with food, clothing, shelter, health services and access to education. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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