Women Affairs ministers, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye makes case for child labour, advocates for pupils to emulate China in production of essential commodities

Women Affairs ministers, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye makes case for child labour, advocates for pupils to emulate China in production of essential commodities

The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has asked state governments to start thinking of ways to involve pupils in what she termed ‘urban

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The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has asked state governments to start thinking of ways to involve pupils in what she termed ‘urban development’.

While speaking at the Anambra Investment Summit in Anambra State on Thursday, Kennedy-Ohaneye advocated for the reduction of school days and then make the pupils use the free time to manufacture essentials such as toothpicks, sanitary pads and cotton buds.

She said pupils should be made to be involved in production lines just as it is done in China.

“I am pleading for us to looking into more of production of some of these things in our society especially the necessities like the match box, the toothpick, cotton bud, sanitary pads and stuffs like that.

“Let us introduce urban development in the schools. If we can think about using Fridays as free for our children to start producing things just like they do in China. In China, even young kids get involved in production” she said.

The minister said she has already spoken to the president of the Traders Union Association who is ready to partner on the initiative so that when they produce these things, they carry it and market it within the country.

Kennedy-Ohanenye said the move would check the high unemployment rates in the country and curtail drug abuse among children.

“They will school, and they will equally do some production to start earning money on time. It will equally curtail the insecurity in our society. Let us help ourselves. If we are hoping on government to do it all, it will never happen,” she added.

Ironically, the federal ministry of women affairs and social development which Kennedy-Ohanenye heads is mandated to see to protecting the development and rights of children in Nigeria.

Her statement has raised concerns about child rights violations as the children may be exposed to child labour if her idea sails through.

The child rights Act 2003 defines acts that constitute child labour and also stipulates some penalties for defaulters.

According to the Act, any person or group of persons:

  1. Who subjects a child to any form of exploitative or forced labour.
  2. Who employs a child to work in a capacity other than domestic or light agricultural and horticultural work as a family member.
  3. Who asks a child to carry, lift or move heavy items which could pose negative effects on the child’s social, physical, moral, spiritual, and mental development.
  4. Who employs a child as a domestic help outside the child’s family environment or home.
  5. Who employs a child in an industrial undertaking other than required and duly supervised technical work in schools or other approved institutions; is deemed guilty of child labour in Nigeria and liable for conviction and imprisonment for 5 years or the payment of a fine not exceeding N500,000 (five hundred thousand naira). Depending on the gravity of the crime, the defaulter can be made to serve the term and also pay the fine.