Oil, gender and agricultural child labour in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria: implications for sustainable development
The Niger Delta region of Nigeria continues to face the problem of agitations, violent conflicts, crimes, rural-urban migration, environmental degradation, militant resistance engendering a frightening state, characterized by violence and criminality in the form of kidnapping, prostitution, escalating unemployment, and vandalization. This paper examines how the activities of oil multinational corporations has compromised agriculture and child labour in the region. This paper is expository and analytical in thrust. It is based on data collected through a survey conducted amongst agricultural child labourers in Rivers State of Nigeria. The sample consisted of 180 respondents drawn from Afara, Kpite-Tai and Tombia, communities all in Rivers State using the purposive sampling technique. A total of 90 parents/guardians were also drawn from the three communities. The study assessed the relationship between oil and gas exploration, gender and the agricultural child labour. The relationship between household size and agricultural child labour and the relationship between health-related hazards and girl-child labour. Data generated from the survey were subjected to statistical analyses using simple percentages to establish primary correlation. It revealed that there is a significant relationship between (a) household size and child labour, and (b) oil and gas exploration and gender and child labour. This paper, was also viewed through the lens of Marxian Feminist Theory. Finally, some recommendations were made, top of which the existing poverty alleviation programmes in the country should be targeted at the girls’ and women first.
Keywords: Gender, Agricultural child labour, Niger Delta, Poverty, Oil, Multinationals.