Cross River disputes NBS child labor ranking

The Government of Cross River has rejected the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) child labor ranking, calling it “spurious” and not reflective of the true situation in the state. The government questioned the parameters used by the NBS to rate Cross River as the state with the highest incidence of child labor at 67.4 percent. State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang, emphasized that Cross River is recognized as one of the most child-friendly states in Nigeria and was one of the first to domesticate the Child Rights Law.

Ekpang highlighted that Cross River has been proactive in protecting children’s rights by implementing the Child Rights Law and involving various community stakeholders to combat child labor. He mentioned that the state has created a Ministry of Women Affairs dedicated to this cause, with desk offices in all 18 council areas to spread awareness and advocacy down to the grassroots level. Traditional rulers, opinion leaders, and women’s groups are also involved in the campaign against child labor and abuse, with several violators already prosecuted.

The NBS report indicates that over 24 million Nigerian children are involved in child labor, with 14.3 million engaged in hazardous work as of 2022. The Northwest geopolitical zone has the highest number of child laborers, while the South East region has the highest percentage prevalence. Nationally, 39.2 percent of children are in child labor, with 22.9 percent involved in hazardous work. Cross River, along with Yobe, Abia, Plateau, and Taraba, ranks among the top states with high child labor percentages, prompting further scrutiny and calls for verification of the claims.

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