The Osun State Director of National Population Commission (NPC), Dr Mike Sangodapo, has lamented that 90 per cent of children involved in street hawking in Nigeria are females, saying such development had culminated in early and forceful marriage for underaged girls.
He chided some people, criticising Governor Akinwumi Ambode for banning street hawking in Lagos State, just as he tasked other states in the country to emulate Lagos State government, with a view to tackling the menace of street hawking and its accompanying dangers on the future of children hawkers.
Addressing a press conference as part of the activities commemorating World Population Day in Osogbo, Osun State capital, Sangodapo maintained that the vulnerability of the female teenagers to early marriage had been on the increase, emphasising that it contributed significantly to vaginal infection and infertility.
According to him, “teenage girls who are under puberty are usually forced into early marriage by their parents. This is too harmful for their health and the country’s economy.
“A girl who has not attained maturity is betrothed to a man who has nothing substantial doing and they give birth to children with no resources to cater for them, it churns out dependency on the few citizens who they would look up to for survival.”
“It is very harmful to the economy because it will not grow as a result of the increasing poverty.”
“By 2030, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) will have put an end to most of these problems, which include the girl child lack of access to education, early marriage, female genital mutilation, among others,” Sangodapo remarked.
While advising parents using their children to hawk and promoting child labour to call it quit, Sangodapo said they should strive to give their children sound and qualitative education so as to guarantee their future.
The NPC boss also tasked the mass media and other Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on the promotion of the campaign against all forms of traditional torments and abuse on the girl child by making sure they remained consistent with their supportive activities towards the course.