A leisurely drive through the mega-city of Lagos reveals one thing clearly, the city is blessed with numerous Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. A very interesting fact about the mega-city of Lagos that any country will be proud of. It therefore comes as no surprise that the mega-city of Lagos boasts one of the largest economies in Africa. The population of the city stands at an approximate of eighteen million people while the internal revenue generated by the city of Lagos stands at an estimated One hundred billion dollars per year and a per capita income of about four thousand and five hundred dollars. The city has the fifth biggest economy in Africa and if it were to be a country, it would be among the top ten countries with the highest economy in Africa and would also be in the top five countries with the biggest population in Africa.
The city boasts of a very enterprising environment, is often dubbed the city that never sleeps. Anywhere you go as you go through the city, there’s always an enterprising individual pushing his merchandise to you with pleading eyes begging for a minute of your attention and a fraction of the few naira you are carrying in your wallet. It is an enterprising attitude you can’t help but admire has these individuals courageously chase after moving vehicles in a bid to sell some of their products.
Sadly, a large number of these individuals mentioned are usually in their early teens and below. It now begs one to wonder why these kids are not in their schools. The population of the kids hawking on the streets of Lagos multiplies by the end of the school hours which simply infers the bulk of these children are tasked with hawking and being an adult before they are mentally ready. This malaise is what the enterprising Micro, Small and Medium businesses in Lagos have continually leveraged on to ensure a going concern for their businesses and to ensure their balance sheet at the end of the fiscal year stays green rather than red.
This development is saddening because people always complain about the ripple effects of this malaise but they don’t seem to find anything wrong with the founding cause of the malaise. These children are denied an opportunity to learn to grow and experience childhood. They are tasked with the responsibility of being an adult long before they are mentally ready for the challenge. A large number of them starts believing if they are ready to forgo their childhood , then they are ready to start living like adults, hence we see a lot of urchins, single teenage mothers, and a lot of young boys and girls just basically living like destitute, getting involved in drugs, prostitution, robbery and other types of disparaging behaviors. This ugly trends seems to be on the increase in the light of harsh economic realities of the country, as parents and guardians of these dependents and minors will rather concern themselves with where their next income will come from rather than the impact of denying their young child the experience of being a child.
The country adopted THE CHILD’S RIGHTS ACTS in 2003 and not until 2015 before the first state in the country attempted to implement it in the state. The remaining thirty five states have conveniently ignored these acts, while the only one to implement it have failed woefully in it the implementation of the acts. The horrendous acts against children in the great city of Lagos replicates across all the states in the country, and worse acts are being perpetrated against the girls especially in the northern part of the country. A lot of the young girls are forcefully married off to men old enough to be their grand-parents. A barbaric culture to say the least, which has been fully grounded on the tenets of religion. A campaign (#ChildNotBride) in the country is seeking to actively stop this sort of marriage in the country. This campaign is a welcome development for the female children in the country, but we also need to wake up to the facts that our children are not traders, hawkers or laborers. They are CHILDREN and should be allowed the opportunity to grow up as one.