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Child Labor in Nigeria: A Deep Dive into the NBS 2022 Survey Report

A study by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that approximately 14 million children in Nigeria are engaged in dangerous jobs daily to support themselves financially.

The NBS report, released on Thursday, 16th April 2024 indicates that a majority of these children come from the nation’s rural regions.

Defined by the NBS, child labor encompasses tasks that are unsuitable for children due to their age or that could be harmful to their health and welfare.

The findings show that 14,390,353 children, or 22.9% of those aged 5 to 14, are participating in perilous work. A larger figure, 26,473,485 children, or 39.2%, are involved in child labor, while a total of 31,756,302 children, representing 50.5%, are engaged in economic activities.

Additionally, the report notes that 94% of children aged 5 to 17 are part of the production of goods for their own use, such as gathering firewood and fetching water. Of these children, 24% are in employment, and 11% are in low-paid apprenticeships.

The report also highlights that the average workweek for these children varies, with some working 14.6 hours, others 24.6 hours, and the minimum being 9.8 hours.

“For children aged 5 to 17 involved in child labor, the average workweek is 14.6 hours. Children aged 15 to 17 in child labor work an average of 24.6 hours per week, which is more than the 19.4 hours for those aged 12 to 14, and 9.8 hours for those aged 5 to 11,” the NBS explained.

The report adds, “Rural children in child labor work 2.3 hours more on average than their urban counterparts. Boys in child labor also work more hours per week on average than girls. It’s important to note that these figures don’t account for time spent on household chores.”

In terms of geographical distribution, the north-west zone has the highest count of child labor and hazardous work, while the south-east zone has the highest rate of child labor involvement.

“The north-west zone leads with 6,407,102 children in child labor and 3,266,728 in hazardous work. In contrast, the South-East has the highest child labor rate at 49.9%,” the report stated.

The survey was conducted by the NBS to assess child labor and forced labor in Nigeria for the year 2022.