Most Lagos roads have become convergence zones for -child-hawkers, a majority of whom are below 15 years. They assemble on the roads, hawking different items, including groundnuts, pawpaw, orange, plantain chips, apple, pure and table water, bread, egg and many more, especially in the evening when most Lagosians are returning from their various places of work.
Some of these children are out of school, while others engage in the activity in order to support their education as a result of their guardians’ or parents’ inability to cope with the financial requirement to see them through.
However, encomium.ng’s findings revealed that vast majority of these underaged children are from Benue state followed by Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Ogun and Bayelsa states.
Few of the children encomium.ng had a chat with a couple of days back disclosed to us how and why they became street hawkers.
According to Ebenezer Okoh from Benue state, “I am 11 years old. I am from Benue state. I am still in Primary 3 because I started my education in the village before I followed my aunty to Lagos state in 2016. And since I came, I have started hawking groundnut in the evening after returning from school. I am doing it to support her because we are many she’s taking care of.”
Another child who lives in Fagba area of the state, Blessing, also said, “I live with my mother in Fagba here. I am 13 years old. I am in Junior Secondary School (JSS) one. I came to Lagos in 2014 from Delta state to join my mom because my father had married another wife because my mom and my daddy are no longer together. And I couldn’t cope with the way my father and his new wife were treating me. So, I had to join my mom in Lagos in 2014 to continue my education. But my mother has no money to take care of my education and that of my siblings. And I want to be educated even beyond secondary school level. That’s why I am struggling to support her. I come out in the evening and also early in the morning before going to school everyday. Many of us you see here have similar stories to tell.”
– TADE ASIFAT for encomium.ng