Friday, 22 April 2016

who is an under age

Who is an under age?
An under age is a person who is below the acceptable adult age of any country. That is, a person that has not gotten to the age approved for adult's legal rights and responsibilities. According to the oxford Advance learners Dictionary 6th edition, An under age is a person not legally old enough to do a particular thing. In our nation, Nigeria and mostly other nations, an under age is any person below 18 years of age. These are category of persons between the age of 0-17 years of age. They are more in primary or secondary school (elementary and High school). If there are any category not to be cater for, certainly not the under age. They are suppose to be taken care of by their parents guardian, sponsor, government and even other philanthropic individual or NGOs. Nowadays, reverse is the case, where underage are the ones catering for their parents/guardains, sponsors e.t.c through means of hawking, child labour e.t.c.
In this write up our main concern is Hawking; Under age hawking. I have been able to explain who an under age is. Now let's look at the meaning of hawking.
What is Hawking?
The oxford Advance learners Dictionary 6th edition defined hawking as trying to sell things by going from place to place asking people to buy them. Hawking is moving to sell goods or wares from one place to another asking people to buy, by means of advertising their goods or wares by themselves e.g buy pure water, buy orange, buy popcorn e.t.c. Hawking in a more simplier term is the carrying of goods or wares from place to place for sale.
Hawking is a world wide menace, especially in the Africa Continent. Hawking is an abuse of the under age child. Asking an under age to hawk goods; a person below 18 years of age to carry goods or wares from place to place, either in the market place, the street, the road side e.t.c is not only wrong, it's against the Child Right Act. Persons who do that i.e send the Child to hawk, be it the parents or guardains, sponsors e.t.c are not only committing an offence and abusing this children but are as well endangering the life of the child,they are exposing them to dangers. Some persons may want to be defensive by putting the blame on the situation of the nation and the government. That is not enough reason to expose the child to the dangers and effects of hawking. People always want to have an excuse for doing or not doing a particular thing, but don't always focus on the reason to do or not do that particular thing. I must admit the nation's situation is not rosy, but to make things otherwise we have to create the kind of future we want to have. For goodness sake these are tomorrow's leader, they are the future of the nation.
According to Mark a colleague who chipped in his opinion "Under age hawking is bad. Every child has a right to education. Hawking endangers their lives making them vulnerable to kidnap, accident, molestations and abuses. Because of the nature of the environment where they hawk, they tend to become hostile. It has an adverse negative influence on the child. They learn things the hard way".
From kenneth's opinion, "the level of poverty and ignorance in the country is too much. Where a parent can not cater for their children because of unemployment, illiteracy, increase in prices of goods e.t.c". John another colleague opined "that poverty forces poor families and sponors to send under age children to hawk. hawking among under age can leave many severe consequences on them and they face many problems which may cause permanent damage to them as well as the society. Children usually hawk to contribute, as well as provide financial support to their families and sponsors"
Now, Who is to be blamed? The parents or guardains, the sponsors, the government or the nation's economy? This question is left for you; my reader to answer.
What then are the causes of hawking?
From the opinion of kenneth and John, poverty is the major cause. There are other causes as well, which may include: Illiteracy, poor family planning, war and insurgence, religion and culture among others.
Starting from poverty, borrowing the words of John and kenneth. The level of poverty in a country being a major cause, has forced poor families and sponsors to send under age children to hawk, Where a parent can not cater for their children because of unemployment, increase in the prices goods e.t.c. Children are usually sent to hawk to contribute, as well as provide financial support to their families and sponsors, which in turn have negative effect not only on the child but as well as the nation. The question now is, does it worth it? Is it worth the risk associated with hawking?
Illiteracy being another major cause means lack or little of knowledge and education. John and kennth also have something to say in this regard, which i also contributed to "under age engaged in hawking and the Persons (parents,sponsors,guardains e.t.c) who usually send them out on this suicide mission don't have educational knowledge (or enough of it) of the adverse effects of hawking on the under aged". It is a true fact that people will always act or behave according to their level of education and knowledge. Education here, isn't just all about school. It is beyond that; it entails enlightenment programmes and Information dissemination to the general public on the effects and dangers of hawking on the under age class.
Poor family planning, also one of the causes can also be tagged to lack of knowledge. Some parents especially poor ones are fond of giving birth to many children than they can cater for. This become worse, in the sense that after giving birth to the children they lack finances to take care of them, thereby sending them to hawk for the family. Placing their responsibilities on the child. As I stated earlier, there should be a proper enlightment of the general public by the governments, NGOs, Health practitioners and media on the importance of family planning. So that this menace can be eradicated or reduce to the lowest level in the society.
Wars and insurgences causes can also be tagged as one of the causes of hawking. Wars and insurgences make people homeless, orphan, poor e.t.c. the under age is not exempted from the adverse effects of war and insurgences. This may lead to hawking. When there is nothing to start but to hawk and mostly under ages are the major hawkers.
Another cause to be talked about, is religion and culture. There are some religion and culture who encourage hawking. An example is the islamic religion, in Nigeria. Under age children are been sent to the street by someone they call mallam. The former president, president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan tried to the best of his ability to raid this menace by the introduction of western education in northern region of Nigeria. This lead to the rise of the terrorist group "Boko Haram" which means against book, against western education. Some culture make it seem that a child is supposed to take care of their parent: true but when they become adult, not while still an under age child.
These are some of the causes among others.
What effect does hawking has or leave on the under age child?
I concur with Mark's point when he said that "hawking endangers the lives of the under age making them vulnerable to kidnap, accident, molestations and abuses. Because of the nature of the environment where they hawk, they tend to become hostile. It has an adverse negative influence on the child and they learn things the hard way". In John's words "hawking is one of the reason for the waywardness among this under age children. Most of them end up as cultist, robbers, street thugs, and street warlord. One of the respect given to a country is how her young ones are being catered for".
There is the issue of molestation: where the young female under age are being abused sexually( raped) in the street due to the nature of the environment, sometimes leading to  sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregenacy.
Also we have the issue of accident, especially those who hawk on the road. A case happened late last year in benin, Edo state where an under age hawker was crush by a heavy vehicle ( lorry ) in the process of hawking.
These are some the effects, among many others.
Now what is the solution to this menace, how do we curb this issue of hawking in our nation?
"As to what can be done To stop it......First of all we must recognize that the society lacks structure. The government has to build a formidable structure to tackle such things in accordance to the set law (The Child Right Act). One of such structure will be Setting up a task force to watch, Arrest and prosecute offenders. Laws should be put in place to check mate such actions. Again,Schooling should be made attractive to these young ones, Their place of learning should be made conducive, such that, they will rather be in school than any where else. In addition to this, the Federal Government should enforce the several policies and legislations adopted for improving the welfare of children, to help reduce under age hawking. Let there be introduction of strong enforcement institutions that will enforce the law against under age hawking without any form of sentiment.
Education should be the first tool in combating this menace. Although primary education has been made tuition fee free through the Universal Basic Education (not all free, you have to by books, pen e.t.c). Many children do not attend school, about six million children in Nigeria, according to research, both boys and girl, are estimated to be working. The dropout rates for primary school is high for both boys and girls because of several factors such as poverty and early marriage, teenage pregnancy, poor school, or cultural and religious issues.
Also, we need persons who are and does not only consider the political, social and economic development to the nation. Nigeria need Persons who will reach out to the poor, in form of help, establishing them, training them in skills acqiuision and enlightening them on issues that may lead to this menace: hawking. Nigeria need Persons who will impact truth into as well as help the victim or those involve in this menace. Nigeria need Persons of determination, Persons who see a great future: great minds: world changers....
Compiled by Uwa Ifueko Esther.

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