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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                             

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Oil-rich Nigeria, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and poor macroeconomic management, has undertaken several reforms over the past decade. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy away from its overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings and about 80% of budgetary revenues.

Based largely on increased oil exports and high global crude prices, GDP rose strongly in 2007 and 2008. President Yar'adua has pledged to continue the economic reforms of his predecessor with emphasis on infrastructure improvements. Infrastructure is the main impediment to growth. The government is working toward developing stronger public-private partnerships for electricity and roads..  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Nigeria

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Nigeria.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Digital Diary: Nigerian street children tell their stories of life without security

Christine Jaulmes, United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, New York, 26 December 2007

[accessed 28 June 2011]

Isaiah has spent 5 of his 15 years living on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, the second largest city of Africa. Like hundreds of other children, he spends his days and nights in this sprawling metropolis trying to fend for himself.  “It is not easy living on the street but what can I do?” asks Isaiah, one of 25 children who have told their stories on Nigerian national radio through a UNICEF-supported project.  “I have two sisters that I have not seen in five years, I have smoked Indian hemp like other boys of my age, got beaten by bigger boys, robbed of my money, took my bath in the canal and slept under the bridge,” Isaiah says in one broadcast. “The good thing is that I am alive!”  Given the opportunity to go to school, Isaiah says he would like to become a lawyer. “I want to be defending people,” he explains.

Sorry Story Of Nigeria’s Street Kids: Wasted by poverty in the land

Chioma Anyagafu and Fred Iwenjora, OnlineNigeria, February 04, 2006

[accessed 27 June 2011]

Their outlook paints a vivid picture of their state of helplessness. They appear unkempt and totally hopeless of what the future holds. In their tattered clothes, they find homes in the most filthy and awkward places like abandoned buildings, under overhead  bridges and school premises. Usually, they retire to these “abodes” at dusk and dash out early in the morning before the  prying eyes of security agents or the rightful owners of the structures turn out for business.

The cries of the next generation, the conscience of hope

weblog by adefemi

[accessed 27 June 2011]

While unethical fetish cultural practices are abolished in some parts of Nigeria, eight-year-old Uduak was said to possess supernatural powers and was declared a witch by a prophetess at a vigil in Eket, Akwa Ibom. His mother had to take him to the church for “spiritual deliverance”, that was the beginning of Uduak’s tortuous road to living as his mother publicly disowned him. More troubles awaited the child the next day at home. His father splashed acid at his face, leaving him with blisters, and chased him out of the family’s one room apartment.

Uduak now finds shelter among other abandoned children at the Eket Sports Stadium. But he still dreams about home, and pleads with anyone who cares to hear his story to take him home to his parents. “I want to go back to my parents; I want to go back to school, but I am scared of the prophetess”.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 13 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - In urban areas, children work as domestic servants, street hawkers, vendors, beggars, scavengers, shoe shiners, car washers/watchers, and bus conductors.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] Economic hardship resulted in high numbers of children working to enhance meager family income. Children frequently were employed as beggars, street peddlers, bus conductors, and domestic servants in urban areas. Little data was available to analyze the incidence of child labor. The National Modular Child Labour Survey Nigeria conducted the only survey available between 2000 and 2001. The survey reported approximately 15 million children working in the country. Of these, more than six million were not attending school and more than two million were working 15 or more hours per day.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January 2005

[accessed 13 December 2010]

[69] In view of the increasing number of children living and working on the street and street families, the Committee regrets the lack of information about specific mechanisms and measures to address their situation.

[73] The Committee notes with appreciation the State party’s ratification of the ILO Convention No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and the ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in October 2002. However, it remains concerned at the significant number of children in Nigeria working as domestic servants, in plantations, in the mining and quarrying sector, and as beggars on the streets.

Nigeria: Abia 15 And Endangered Children

Sonnie Ekwowusi, This Day, 5 October 2010

[accessed 27 June 2011]

Aside child labour, Nigerian children are victims of legal injustice. For example, many Awaiting Trial Inmates (ATMs) languishing in our various prisons are children below the age of 16. Many them are children caught loitering in the streets and dumped in prison for no reason. Some of them are tortured and abused in prisons. The juvenile court system seems to have collapsed. A few times I have visited the prisons I have been shocked by the huge number of young persons and children loitering around the prison premises without hope of getting justice.

Nigeria: What to Do With Street

Funmi Ogundare, This Day, Lagos, 9 January 2008

[partially accessed 28 June 2011 - access restricted]

He said the Child Rights Act as enacted has given the government some powers to prosecute parents or guardians who maltreat children by sending them to beg or hawk on the streets when they should be in school. Badru added that such children, after some time, are forced into armed robbery or even become tools in the hands of robbers who used them as gun keepers because they are underage.

"For example, in Lagos, people come from all parts of the country to 'hustle'; it is now getting to an alarming stage where you see underage children come on their own. So when this happens there is no where to stay except under the bridges. They join bad gangs and many other vices and armed robbers use them as an opportunity to keep guns because they are under aged", he said.

Some other children, the special adviser also noted, aside running away from home because the guardians or parents are maltreating them, some parents even send them to be used as house helps elsewhere by collecting money.

"For those children, when they are maltreated there, they run away and knowing fully well that if he goes back home, he would be taken back there or to another place for the same purpose", he said.

Nigeria: First Ladies - To Be Or Not to Be?

Tayo Agunbiade, This Day, Lagos, 27 September 2007

[partially accessed 28 June 2011 - access restricted]

Recently, the first lady of Bauchi State , Hajia Yagudu spoke about the plight of the Almajiris (street children).  This is an issue that has been on for so many years in most parts of northern Nigeria . Plenty of lip service has been paid to it but the problem still persists. The implications are all too telling. Thousands of school age children are out of school on the streets begging for alms.

Sisters Unite for Street Children

Hilda Okoisor, This Day, May 10, 2007

[accessed 28 June 2011]

Ibrahim Tijani, a young boy of 17 said that he used to sleep under the bridge in Oshodi sometimes under a car or a bus or inside a dry gutter. He does not know his parents as he was left alone by his parents when he was three years old.  He started attending the Foutain of Life Church, Oshodi where they took a particular interest in him because they thought he was well behaved. He worshipped with them every time especially on Fridays for the night vigils and Sundays for worship. They accomodated him and  promised to help him settle down. Eventually, after two years of which he did not run away, a member of the church took him to the  Child Life Line Centre, Ibeshe vilage, Ikorodu where he currently resides. Since he is an old boy, he is learning the art of welding while the Centre takes care of his other needs.

For Street Children, What Kind of Future?

Godwin Haruna, This Day, October 4, 2006

[accessed 28 June 2011]

The problem of street children in several cities in Nigeria, especially, Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country, appears to have defied every solution. However, a private initiative, geared towards empowering their parents and enrolling the street kids in schools may resolve the age-long practice, if supported by the citizenry.

PCF: Giving succour to street children

Pupils of Precious Childcare Foundation, 14 August 2006

[accessed 28 June 2011]

“In some cases, their parents sent them out to go and bring money in; in fact, they had become bread winners for their parents and some are just abandoned children right from childhood. So I went through these experiences and I felt that something should be done to take care of this category of children,” she explained in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune.

Therefore, Princess Adetokunbo Wande Abimbola established a non-governmental organisation called Precious Childcare Foundation (PCF) in 1995 with the objective of educating and empowering the abandoned and neglected children as well as highlighting the social and health problems facing this group with a view to finding solutions to them.

It is a big mistake to be barren and not adopt

Jemi Ekunkunbor, The Vanguard, Nigeria, May 29, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 28 June 2011]

For many years, the state of the Nigerian child has never been one of good tidings. In spite of public and private efforts geared at alleviating the sufferings of the Nigerian child, the reality stares us in the face  with children still hawking wares on the street, many too numerous to estimate not being in school and many at birth abandoned to fate on street corners and on rubbish heaps.  Those who are lucky among  these categories of people have landed in the padded arms of Rev. Mrs Dele George and hubby, co founders of the Strong Tower Mission who for years, have been on a mission to rescue abandoned  children.

What are the issues that make people abandon children?  Of course the issue is poverty. I would say that the national income per head in this country is still very low compared to Europe or US in spite of the fact that Nigeria is very blessed with material and mineral  resources and even manpower.

Area Boys -- A Growing Menace On The Streets Of Lagos

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, LAGOS, 13 July 2005

[accessed 10 March 2015]

For the past two decades, the 13 million residents of Nigeria's biggest city have run the gauntlet of several thousand delinquent youths who roam the streets extorting money.  Known as Area Boys -- although a few are female -- they sprang up in the early 1980s.  To begin with they were just small bands of bullies who roamed the slums adjoining the central business district. But since then their numbers have burgeoned, fed by the steady flood of unemployed people that migrates constantly into Lagos from elsewhere in the country.  The Area Boys are now rampant all over the city. Their favourite hangouts are bus stops, major highways and markets.  In broad daylight, they levy tolls on bus drivers, they demand bribes from market women wanting to set up stalls for the day, they patrol potential car-parking spaces and demand illegal fees from shoppers. They even threaten ordinary passer-bys, demanding "donations".

Consortium for Street Children

Consortium for Street Children

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 28 June 2011]

Children work as vendors or hawkers, beggars, shoe shiners, car washers and watchers, head-loaders, scavengers and bus conductors. The majority are boys but there are a few girls. Street families, a variant of street living, are also becoming prominent

Dateline Nigeria — Tomorrow Can Wait

Adesola Orimalade, The Globalist, February 07, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 28 June 2011]

The entire urban landscape of Nigeria is filled with beggars and street children. Asking, begging, appealing for aid in daytime — and becoming aggressive, dangerous and violent in the cover of night.

NGO Periodic Report for Nigeria [DOC]

The African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect ANPPCAN Child Rights Monitoring Center, November 26, 2004

[accessed 28 June 2011]

The number of children who live and sleep on the streets has been on the increase in most major urban areas in Nigeria. There are so many locations in which children are found to be living on the street. Street families are also becoming prominent in certain urban slum areas. These destitute families can be found living under bridges, in public toilets and in markets. Their children too are in extremely precarious condition and urgently require intervention and assistance.

Information on the Child Welfare League Of Nigeria [PDF]

Child Welfare League of Nigeria, October 1995 -- presented at the 13th Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC, Sept - Oct 1996

[accessed 28 June 2011]

[page 1]  In Lagos alone there are liver 100,000 boys and girls living in the streets.   Under very harsh condition, they live virtually in slums, market places, bye refuse dumps and under fly over bridges, while some abandoned ones at the tender age of 4 and above are kept in cells.   The consequence is the daily increase in crime waves, drug addiditional-prostitution and destitution.   Hence today, haunted and living in cages like birds, we all live with fear of violence perpetuated by the same children once neglected and abused to become kid armed robbers, area boys and destitutes.   Condemned they grow up with hatred for Society that detest them. Killing at will they molest and rob people of their hard earned investments.

Social correlates and coping measures of street-children: a comparative study of street and non-street children in south-western Nigeria

Aderinto AA, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, 2000 Sep 24 -- PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, PMID: 11057706

[accessed 28 June 2011]

OBJECTIVE: This paper sought to achieve two objectives: First, to identify the social correlates attributable to street-children in south-western Nigeria as well as predisposing factors to this behavior; second, it also tried to uncover the survival mechanisms of street children.

A community based study of patterns of psychoactive substance use among street children in a local government area of Nigeria

Morakinyo J & Odejide AO, Department of Psychiatry, University College Hospital, Oyo State, Ibadan, Nigeria, 2003 Aug 20 -- PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, PMID: 12927648

[accessed 28 June 2011]

The nature of continuous exposure to the street and its associated lifestyles make street children vulnerable to the use of psychoactive substances.

Youth Get A Second Chance

Remi Oyo, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, LAGOS, Jan 29

[accessed 28 June 2011]

1000 youth have been identified for an agricultural project under the ''Good Boys and Good Girls'' program. The youth will be placed on allocated land where they will farm cassava and maize, two of Nigeria's staple foods. They also will receive training in livestock breeding.

VSA Arts of Nigeria goes awakening the creative of the less priviledged Children

VSA Arts of Nigeria

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 28 June 2011]

In a major drive to bring reformations and opportunities to these so called "Street Children" VSA arts of Nigeria has embarked on an Art awareness project at the Juvenile Remand & Rehabilitation center in Ibadan, Oyo state.

Self Help Effort

Education for All EFA 2000 Assessment Country Reports - Nigeria

[accessed 28 June 2011]

12.2.9 RESCUING, REHABILITATION AND RETURNING STREET CHILDREN - The Street Children phenomenon in Nigeria is gradually assuming alarming proportions, particularly in urban areas. The immediate cause of this phenomenon appears to be deeply entrenched poverty

Nigeria CSEC Overview

ECPAT International

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 28 June 2011]

It had been stated that in Nigeria children as young as four or five years old were sometimes taken into families as domestic helpers because their parents were poor or in debt. These children are prone to sexual abuse and exploitation. When ill treated, they run away and end up in the streets where they are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC).  Lagos is reported to have the largest number of such street children in Nigeria.

Nigerian “Shade Tree Theatre” with Street Children

Salami, Irene and Henk van Beers, Children, Youth and Environments 13(1), Spring 2003. pp. 23-47

[accessed 28 June 2011]

Shade Tree Theatre is a project with working children in the streets of Jos, Nigeria. It aims at enabling children to analyze problems they encounter and to come up with practical solutions to deal with them.

Street Children's Experiences In The Injustice System [PDF]

Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice

[accessed 12 October 2012]

Amongst the list of practices that street children in Nigeria complained of in relation to the police was the enforced stripping of clothes even for female children.

Pre-trial detention of children has been found to last as much as one year. Some criminal cases are just left unattended to while children languish away on remand. Children in the homes feel the police have forgotten them there.

Children are not given the chance to speak or defend themselves; Children are held in handcuffs; Sometimes children become hopeless and feel like they want to die; Children do not reply to the police statement.

4. Addressing Child Labor and Promoting Schooling

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs

[accessed 28 June 2011]

[accessed 26 December 2016]

a. Child Labor Initiatives

UNICEF has established a series of programs for street children in Nigeria and launched a collaborative project with ILO-IPEC specifically aiding the almajirai children. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) funded a study on street children in 1995, which was implemented by the Child Life Line, a local NGO. The Child Life Line opened centers to rehabilitate street children in Lagos based upon its findings, and in 1999, hosted a workshop to help other NGOs set up effective street children focused programs. Many other NGOs, such as the Child Project, Galilee Foundation, Kingi Kids, the Friends of the Disabled, and the Samaritans are also involved in efforts to rescue and rehabilitate street children.

Street Children and the Juvenile Justice System in Lagos State of Nigeria

Human Development Initiatives, Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC -- Publisher: Consortium for Street Children , 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 28 June 2011]

Report discusses the framework for the juvenile justice system in Lagos State and explores the challenges and problems of street children.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children - Nigeria",, [accessed <date>]