Kebbi State may fall among the states in the north-identified as hob of child labour but children in the state are equally engaged in some agricultural activities based on their capacities, thereby helping to boost the economic activities in their respect communities.
Degere junction, popularly called Lambar Gwandu is a strategic location in Kebbi State that links the major towns of Argungu, Gwandu and the State capital - Birnin-Kebbi, particularly during raining seasons. It also serves as an important meeting point for commuters plying the road to the state capital.
At this spot hundreds of children aged between 11 and 15, who should be in school converg every evening to sell grass, usually sourced as weed from farms, and is generally viewed as closely related to poverty level of most parents, who have to send out their children to make money.
Usman Aliyu, aged 15, is a pupil of class four in Degere Model Primary School, who told the LEADERSHIP that he was forced by his mother to go and source the grass for sell. According to him, the money generated from the sales would be used to buy him clothes and meet other pressing needs.
Another 11 year old child, Shafi’u Umaru, said that he earns an average of N60 to N70 per day, and when the market is favourable, he could make as much as N100 in a day, explaining that he is doing the business to make money for feeding and clothing.
Although not yet enrolled into primary school, Shafi’u expressed hopes to be in school, indicating willingness to dedicate his time and energy to study in the event he was enrolled into primary school, but regretted that ‘I cannot go to school now because I am preoccupied with this grass selling.’
But Bilali Salihu, 13, was even more open; he said he is in the business to assists his parents with the little money he earns to help in meeting their daily demands, adding however that the money realised from the venture is very hard to justify; but he was glad that the earnings ‘will help me buy new clothes and shoes for myself during Sallah celebrations”.
Malam Idris Ahmed Indire, a father and one of the dealers in the grass business, said the small children contributed in reducing the stress of parents going to farms to weed out the grass because of their engagement with farm work.
“It is true that the children help in removing weeds from farms as well as helping in aspects of animal rearing”, Idris narrated, claiming that this is a clear demonstration that the children are ready to work and contribute not only to help their parent, but also boost the socio-economic activities in their respective communities.