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25m children forced into child labour with the following zonal, spatial distributions – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) unveiled a staggering revelation: 24.6 million children across Nigeria are ensnared in the clutches of child labour. This revelation emerged from the comprehensive ‘Nigeria Child Labour Survey 2022’, a report published to shed light on this grave societal issue.

The report pinpointed states like Cross River, Yobe, and Abia as the front-runners in this distressing chart, with figures soaring above 60 percent, painting a grim picture of the prevalence of child labour in these regions. According to the NBS, child labour encompasses any form of work that deprives children under 18 of their rightful childhood, potential, and dignity, exerting detrimental effects on their physical and mental well-being.

Unveiling the stark reality, the report highlighted that children between the ages of 5 to 17 are embroiled in economic activities constituting child labour, with a staggering 39.2 percent, equivalent to 24,673,485 children, trapped in this vicious cycle. Alarmingly, over 14 million of these children are subjected to hazardous work, accounting for 22.9 percent of children in this age bracket.

According to the report, there is a marginal difference in child labour participation between genders, with males slightly edging out females at 39.6 percent versus 38.8 percent. Moreover, it underscored a glaring geographical divide, with rural areas bearing the brunt of this crisis. Approximately 44.8 percent of children aged 5-17 in rural settings are embroiled in child labour, compared to 30 percent in urban areas.

Hazardous work exacerbates the plight of rural children, with more than 10.5 million engaged in such perilous activities, representing 26.8 percent of rural children, compared to 16.3 percent in urban locales. The report further dissected the age-based vulnerability, revealing that older children, particularly in the 15–17 age group, are disproportionately ensnared in hazardous work.

Zooming into the regional landscape, the northwest geopolitical zone emerges as the epicenter of this crisis, harboring the highest number of children in child labour. However, the south-east region, despite hosting a relatively smaller number of children in child labour, exhibits the highest prevalence rate at 49.9 percent.

State-wise, Cross River registers the highest percentage of children in child labour at a staggering 67.4 percent, closely followed by Yobe state at 62.6 percent. Conversely, Lagos state has the lowest child labour rate at 8.9 percent.

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