Archive of ‘Politics and Commentary’ category

Nigerian children recount the challenges they face working in a city


Photo Credit: Information Nigeria

This article was originally published on The Conversation

Stories of children being used in Nigerian mines have hit the headlines. But this phenomenon isn’t uncommon. About 15 million Nigerian children work –- the highest rate of working children in West Africa.

Globally there are over 168 million children, aged 5 to 14, that work. While most studies focus on child labour that happen in rural and agricultural areas, very few have reported the dangers experienced by children in urban areas of Africa where they work as street hawkers, hustlers, vendors and domestic servants.

But in a rapidly growing society such as Nigeria, where poverty is widespread, child labour in urban areas has become a systemic avenue for augmenting parental income. Though it may build the entrepreneurial skills of youngsters for later life, it can have detrimental consequences.

I set out to find out more about the lives of children who are working. Drawing on interviews with 1,535 children (aged 8 – 14 years) and their parents, my study documented their experiences. It showed that although child labour provides significant economic assistance towards the sustenance of the family, children don’t get a proper education and experience negative health and social consequences in the process.

Working children

Over half the children interviewed were female and the average age of all children was 12 years, though some were as young as 7-years-old. Most were engaged in sales (such as street hawking) and services (like car washing). While some of the children worked as much as six hours a day, the average daily hours of work was four.

When it came to the parents, more than two-thirds were engaged in trading and services, the remaining 28.4% were employed in administrative and professional occupations, indicating more education. Regarding parental income, an overwhelming 8 out of 10 parents earned about 20,000 Naira (about USD$55) per month. Such low earnings mean the households turned to using the labour of their children to supplement the family’s income.

Despite the economic benefits of child labour, the findings show that children face a variety of challenges in their daily activities.

More than a third had experienced accidents involving motor vehicles. “John,” a boy aged 9, complained that: “I get hit by car and motorcycles when I want to cross the roads.”

Surprisingly, 1 out of 7 children told our interviewers about attempted kidnapping. “Laide”, a 10 year-old-girl, narrated a scenario where two men wanted her to follow them by promising to give her 5,000 Naira (about USD$14).

The study also found that about 1 out of 10 children had been subjected to rape, sexual molestation, or assault while on the streets selling foodstuffs and fruits.

“Tayo”, a 13 year old girl said: “At times, some men would pretend that they want to buy things from me, but later would be touching my body.” “Kehinde”, a 14-year-old girl, said: “I was raped twice and became pregnant on one occasion by two men…My parents aborted the pregnancy so that it wouldn’t ruin my education.”

Because children spend considerable time away from their family and household, about one-quarter (22.8%) reported that gangsters would invite them to join in their bad activities. “Tolu”, an 11-year-old boy said: “Touts and gangsters would come to me and ask me to smoke Indian hemp (marijuana). Sometimes, they would ask me to describe my house so that they can come to visit me and invite me to join them in their activities.”

Almost one quarter (24.1%) of children miss one day or more of school each week. Moreover, 7 out of 10 of the working children attribute their poor school attendance to tiredness or sickness resulting from long distance walking due to their daily work activities, while the remaining 28% miss school because of their parents request that they should sell foodstuffs instead of attending school that day. This finding shows how child labour can have a detrimental effect on child health, which invariably affects their school attendance.

When children do go to school, about half are sometimes, or always, late. When asked why they’re late, 52.6% cited child labour as the major reason. Another one-third mentioned tiredness or illness as reasons for the lateness. Again, child labour appears to have a negative impact on their punctuality which does not bode well for effective learning and success in school.

Children were also asked about opportunities for doing homework after school. Just a little over 40% said that child labour does not hinder their time for homework.

Finally, interviews with the children reveal that two-thirds do not have time for recreation, although the remaining one-third manage to play with friends during the time they are engaged in child labour. Child labour disturbs children’s leisure time, hindering their optimal social development which they get through interacting with peers.

New policies

I recommend that policies need to be put in place that reduce the number of children working in Nigeria. Policy programmes such as credit facilities, poverty reduction schemes, by creating jobs for adults, and the provision of affordable medical facilities would improve the quality of lives and, consequently, reduce the need for child labour.

Existing laws should also be enforced, including compliance with the minimum working age and ensuring universal enrolment of Nigerian children in schools.

NGO advocates more women participation in Nigerian aviation industry


Air Peace Female Captain

Mr Ossai Ilome, Co-Founder, Aviaten Initiatives Limited, Promoters of Miss Aviation African Pageant, has advocated for increased women participation in the running of aviation business in Nigeria and Africa in general.

Ilome, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the organisation was an action advocacy network contributing to the development of aviation industry in Africa.

He said that the aviation industry in Africa was currently dominated by men, stressing that only three per cent of managerial and executive positions in the sector was occupied by women.

Ilome said the NGO was determining to encourage active female participation in the industry through the creation of Miss Aviation Africa Pageant.

He said that the effort would be through effective re-orientation, encouragement and mobilisation of young girls to take up career choices in aviation.

He disclosed that the organisation, which was incorporated in the United Kingdom, had reached about seven countries in Africa that were prepared to participate in the pageant.

“We have looked at the rate of women participation in the management to executive positions in the aviation industry.

“So, based on the statistics that we have, we only have about three per cent of women that are in the management/executive positions in the aviation industry.

“Thereby, we felt that a combination of all quality of core customer’s service and women empowerment can suffice, so we decided to use the platform of Miss Aviation Africa.

“We created the pageant to look at how we can promote and sponsor young girls to take career choices in the aviation industry.

“Thinking about this project, the African Union (AU) launched what they called the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and we felt that this is what we have been waiting for.

“For us, when we talk about the pageant, we are not talking about the usual beauty focused stuff whereby young girls are brought together just for the purpose of showcasing beauty.

“For us, we felt that when you have a platform that brings young girls together.

“It will be an opportunity for you to re-indoctrinate them, re-orientate them, empower them with the tools and the skills they need for their future,” he said.

He said that the NGO would partner with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

“The partnership is to host the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) Innovations and Opportunities Conference, also inaugurate Africa Aviation Spectrum Group in Abuja,’’.

Ilome said the event was designed to bring together aviation and spectrum stakeholders in Nigeria and Africa to harness the opportunities and catalyse innovations that would propel development in the continent.

He said that the theme of the conference is: “Liberalised Africa Aviation Market; Need for Efficient Spectrum Management and Effective Value Chain Development”.

“You will recall that prior to the launch of the SAATM, countries in the region have diverse needs and timeframes for the introduction of data link services.

“Countries in the region have also access to appropriate, protected radio spectrum to maintain safe and efficient flight operations.

“More so, in an effort to ease the process of air traffic management, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) within the air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure is gaining momentum in the aviation community,” he said. (NAN)

NGO seeks partnership with FG to shelter indigent women


The Women in Housing Sector Initiative (WIHSI), a housing NGO, has appealed for Federal Government’s partnership, to achieve its objective of providing affordable housing for indigent women.

Mrs Adenike Fasanya-Osilaja, Founder of the NGO, made the appeal during the convention of the NGO on the sideline of the ongoing 12th Abuja International Housing Show, organised by FESADEB Communications Ltd.

WIHSI Promotes the visibility, advancement and well-being of women in the housing sector and advocates increased empowerment of women through housing stability and home ownership.

Fasanya-Osilaja, an International Housing Finance Consultant noted that the NGO, was focused to ease the plight of indigent women, who were victims of catastrophic circumstances.

Fasanya-Osilaja said that the NGO was interested in working with the government at all levels, to identify and prepare women for duties and privileges of home ownership.

According to her, women have typically been the silent unseen partners in housing arrangements since the olden days, even though in several cultures women could still not own land or property in their names.

“This has created a position of great vulnerability for women, who literally have a roof over their heads at the mercy of one man or the other in their lives.

“The woman’s capacity to have enjoyment in her residence is also directly affected by her relationship with the benefactor, who it is his cultural right to evict her from the property for any reason at any time.

The consultant stated that in Nigeria the cultural norm was for a husband to evict a spouse in case of divorce or separation.

She noted the death of a spouse as another prevalent cause of eviction for women in many Nigerian cultures, noting that the eviction typically involves the children too.

“This is why the WIHSI, an NGO formed by women professionals in the housing sector, has created a highly specialised platform to assist our sisters with this type of need.

“The platform, aptly named `Housing Women, Housing our Future’ is created out of the recognition that those of us with expertise in the sector must pool talents together to support women.

She said “Operation Earn Your Own Home’’ was the pilot programme of the NGO, to ensure that every displaced woman, who achieved home ownership through grant passed it on through specific steps.

Also speaking, Dr Chi Akporji, Nigeria Mortgage and Refinancing Company (NMRC), advised the NGO to key into its Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, which had empowered many artisans.

Akporji said that NMRC was planning to wrap up the programme by involving many women to enhance the sector skill. (NAN)

11 memorable Barack Obama quotes for Mandela Day 2018 Speech


Mandela Day is about changing the world for better, just like Nelson Mandele did during his lifetime.

This year, Barack Obama gave an amazing speech while speaking in South Africa to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.He emphasised the need for justice and equality for all.

Here are 11 memorable quotes from the speech.

Barack Obama returns to Kenyan ancestral village


Photo Credit: Reuters

The small village of Kogelo in western Kenya was agog as their famous son, former US President Barack Obama, visits after 12 years.

Obama last visited the village in 2006 when he was a US senator.

He arrived in the country on Saturday and is set to inaugurate a youth project run by his sister.

The project includes a a sports facility and vocational training centre.

He met with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday.

Obama and his family also spent eight days in the famous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania before travelling to Kenya.

He will be heading to South Africa after his Kenya visit to give the annual Mandela Day lecture on Wednesday.


South Sudan govt forces rape 120 women, girls – UN


The United Nations has accused South Sudan government forces and allies of killing 232 civilians and raping 120 women and girls in opposition-held villages.

A UN investigation identified three commanders suspected of bearing the “greatest responsibility” in the violence in Unity State between April 16 and May 24 that may amount to war crimes, the UN said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al-Hussein said “The perpetrators …must not be allowed to get away with it.”

The investigation has also identified three individuals who may bear the greatest responsibility for the violations committed. One of them was reportedly removed from his functions for his alleged implication in these violations.

The violence took place after clashes between the SPLA and associated forces, and SPLA-IO (RM) in Unity State culminated in a significant military operation by Government and associated forces between April and May in multiple areas in southern Unity.

The military offensive was part of a broader cycle of violence in which opposition forces also carried out armed attacks resulting in civilian casualties.

Civilians were targeted, with the elderly, people with disabilities and very young children killed in horrific acts of violence – some hung from trees and others burned alive in their homes, the investigation found.

Victims and witnesses described how SPLA and aligned forces would storm into villages in the early morning or around dawn, surround the village and start shooting at fleeing civilians.

The attackers would then steal cattle, loot entire households and burn down houses and food stocks.

The report documents the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, with at least 120 women and girls raped or gang-raped, including children as young as four.

The U said the brutality and ruthlessness of the attackers, as described by survivors, suggests their intent was to take a “scorched-earth” approach, killing or forcibly displacing people, burning their crops and homes, punishing and terrorizing them to ensure they never return.

Many fled under attack by gunfire and shelling.

“Some corpses seen by human rights monitors in villages in Northern Mayendit on 12 May exhibited bullet wounds in their backs,” the report states.

“According to information received, the elderly, sick and persons with disabilities who were unable to flee, were often burnt alive, as the attackers set ablaze their tukuls with lighters.”

As a result, 5,000 sought sanctuary at UN protected sites in Leer and Bentiu.

The UN said another 8,000 are estimated to be hiding in bushes and swamps while 18,000 have sought refuge in Mayendit town.

The UN added that humanitarian actors were also targeted.

Three local aid workers were killed and facilities destroyed, leaving vulnerable people without desperately needed food, water, medicine and shelter.

Al-Hussein called on the Government to halt all attacks against civilians, launch investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable, including those who bear command responsibility.

“The perpetrators of these revolting acts against defenceless civilians, including those bearing command responsibility, must not be allowed to get away with it,” High Commissioner Al-Hussein said.

“There must be consequences for the men who reportedly gang-raped a six-year-old child, who slit the throats of elderly villagers, who hanged women for resisting looting, and shot fleeing civilians in the swamps where they hid.

Those who ordered and facilitated these horrific crimes must be brought to account.

The Government of South Sudan and the international community have the obligation to ensure justice.”

Al-Hussein called on the Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan and the African Union to move quickly towards establishing the Hybrid Court for South Sudan to ensure accountability for gross human rights violations.

He said the UN Mission in South Sudan and humanitarian actors are taking action on a number of fronts, including increasing the peacekeeping presence in the area, providing aid to those in need, continuing to monitor and report on human rights violations and carrying out political engagement with Government officials, commanders of both forces, and civil society.(Reuters/NAN)

Women, children paying cost of conflict in Africa’s Sahel – Mohammed


NAN reports that UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has said  women and children are paying what they called the “stark cost” of conflict in countries across Africa’s Sahel region.

Mohammed, who led an AU-UN peace mission to South Sudan, Chad and Niger from July 2 to July 7, however, added that women could be agents for a “new paradigm” for peacebuilding and development.

She said “Across the three countries we visited, it is evident that women can be the agents of a new and necessary approach: a new narrative, a new paradigm,” Mohammed told the Security Council.

“With today’s conflicts greater in both number and complexity, it is more important than ever to find the path to peacebuilding and sustainable development for all.”

The joint UN-African Union delegation to the Sahel was comprised of senior leaders from the international community, mostly women.

Bineta Diop, the AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, the mission highlighted the “heart-rending and poignant realities” of women and girls in places such as the Lake Chad Basin region, where the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists have displaced millions.

She said the delegation met women who were terrorised by the extremists, or who had been married off while still girls.

They also encountered others who had stepped in to maintain livelihoods in the absence of men, as well as women religious leaders who were working to end child marriage and prevent radicalisation via extremist ideology.

Diop said: “Women are of course undeniably victims of violence. But that said, women are not just victims. They are also agents of change.

“They are intelligent and smart and have initiatives that they wish to share to respond to the challenges they are faced with.”

The Security Council adopted a landmark Resolution 1325 (2000) that has placed the issue of women, peace and security on the global agenda.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, who also joined the delegation, issued a challenge to the international community to mark the 20th anniversary of the Resolution in 2020.

Wallström called on the Council to ensure UN peacekeeping and political missions fully deliver on its promises, including making sure women are at the negotiation table, and that mission mandates include a perspective relating to women, peace and security, among other points.

“Missions like the one undertaken last week should become annual events, and every Security Council meeting should consider the women, peace and security perspective as an essential part of our work to end conflicts.

“I have no doubt that, if we were to do so, our motto of more women, more peace would become a reality,” she said.

Five reasons why you should get your PVC


No one tells you that who you vote for determines your quality of life. No one tells you that your vote counts because 1 – 1,000,000 is not 1,000,000.

Your voice matters, your country needs you go get your permanent voters card and actively participate in the coming elections.

You might say oh no, all political parties are the same, oh no, I cannot join political thugs on election day to cast votes.

Hey, truth is those political thugs that are too sweaty to behold talkless of evening joining a queue with them determine the future of your community, your state and the entire nation at large.

Those uneducated people who you think are too rascally to be seen with you in the same polling booth make decisions that will determine the next four years of your life as long as you are still living in Nigeria.

A typical campaign in Nigeria is marred with shaming the opposition, no one asks questions like policies on the countries financials, unemployment, electricity or other key questions because 70% of the uneducated people you don’t want to mix with on election day don’t understand these concepts and they are the most politicially active.

Here are five reasons why you should go out and get your permanent voters card now

Your ancestors fought to earn the right to vote and make their own decisions

Our ancestors fought for independence and the right to self governance. After decades of slave trade, the british colonised us. We were not allowed to make any decisions politically or economically, we were ruled as the governor general and the Queen in London deemed fit. We finally got independence in 1960 and jus three years later, we became a republic and from there we started dealing with military rule. I know some of us were not born during the era of miliatry rule but ask those who were around then, they will recount horrible experiences of dictatorship and hardship.

Today, Nigeria is a democracy and every four years, we conduct a free and fair election where every citizen is allowed to vote even if the election is marred by rigging, rejoice in the fact that we are all allowed to vote.

Ask those who were around on June 12, 1993.

It’s healthcare policies that affect you

Nigeria lacks health insurance, our hospitals are ill equipped, electricity is a problem in this country. I know a health center that lights touch light to deliver babies. Our maternal mortality is alarming. Annually, for every hundred thousand live births, 576 women die. If you don’t go out to vote, how are we going to change this trajectory of leaders not placing a value on human life?

Not everyone will be able to afford giving birth abroad or posh private hospitals, not everyone will be able to afford quality healthcare, most women still have to depend on government hospitals where doctors and nurses have to battle non payment of salaries and bad working conditions.

Your vote will determine how much you spend on buying fuel

If we don’t urgently fix electricity supply in Nigeria, we will continue to spend a lot of money on buying fuel. We all know that it is not too much to ask for nothing less than 12 hours uninterrupted power supply in every household daily but if you don’t go out to vote, how will we achieve this? If you are not politically active, how are you going to make these demands, ask questions and get answers? If you don’t know the House of Reps member or the Senator representing your constituency, how are you going to communicate these desires to the government.

You are not a rebel by not voting

Most people think not voting makes them superior, no that is not true. Truth is our political establishment doesn’t want you to vote.

You don’t count if you don’t vote

Take a look at this scenerio, 2.5m people want A, and 2m people want B. But of the A-fans, 55 per cent don’t vote. Of the B-people, 90 per cent vote. So let’s do B.



Rivers Community asks for Modular Refinery to end illegal bunkering


Elders of the Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area, Rivers State has asked the federal government for licence to operate a modular refinery as a major condition to ending illegal bunkering.

Vice Chairman of Amanyanabo-in-Council, Bille, Dr. Ibitamino Minapakama made this statement when the former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, visited the area.
Vanguard reports that Minapakama said
“We are grateful that the Federal Government has come to see us. Poverty is one of the major problems we have in the Niger Delta. Anything you can do to assist our communities will be satisfactory. We the chiefs will help and assist our son you have appointed to champion this move to succeed. “We have already applied to the Federal Government to give us a modular refinery to be sited in Bille community due to the facilities we have here. This area deserves a modular refinery. It must be sited in this place. We need reclamations and shore protection to be done for us.”

Modular Refinery are ideally suited for remote locations and are viable for Investments by Private and Public Sector Groups as a source of rapid production of primary fuel products and raw materials for Petrochemical Downstream Industries.

In May, the Department of Petroleum Resources gave licenses to 13 firms to establish modular refineries although a total of 35 firms expressed interest to establish the refineries.

Establishment of modular refineries is one of the key policies of President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration to resolve agitation in the Niger Delta.


Ugandan Social Media users now have to pay over N500 monthly to access WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Skype


Ugandan social media users now have to pay a total of 200 Ugandan( N18) shillings  per day to access social media services like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Skype.

The social media levy came not long after the President, Yoweri Museveni complained that the idleness of youths on social media was costing the country time and resources.

Telecoms providers in the country MTN, Airtel, and Africell recently issued a joint statement informing customers of how to pay the new tax with mobile money services of MTN and Airtel.

According to the Uganda Communications Commission, out of Uganda’s 41 million people, 23.6 million are mobile phone subscribers and 17 million use the internet.

Tech savvy Ugandans are already resorting to Virtual Private Network to access these social media services.


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