An increase in the number of the children hawkers in Nigeria has become worrisome. With selected respondents in a densely populated area of Lagos State (n = 100), this paper investigates the problem of street hawking among the Nigerian children. Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria, was purposely sampled and the respondents who participated in the study were conveniently sampled from the study area. Simple percentages and chi-square were the methods of data analysis employed in this study. The study discovered that the level of awareness of the dangers inherent in child hawking among the affected children was low. The investigation of the study revealed that parents ’ levels of education, parents ’ occupations and the sizes of the family were significantly related to the problem of child hawkers in the study area. The study recommends intensified enlightenment programmes on the problem of child hawkers, positive and genuine commitment by the government, mass, free and compulsory education, and a serious fight against poverty through poverty alleviation and eradication programmes by the government. The implications of doing these were discussed.

Keywords: Agege, child labour, children, hawking, parents and street.



1.1 Background to the  study

In order to understand the lives of children who live and work on the street, we need to find out about the lives and roles of children in any culture. There are certain African realities that affect children on the continent whatever their cultural context, geographical situation or socio- economic status. In the first place, children and young people from more than half the population of most African countries, has implications for the distribution of resources and for policy. Closely related to this demographic factor are the observations that significant deficits exist in the schooling systems of most countries and that there is a general lack of provision of child care for working mothers in urban settings, both of which are likely to be significant contributory causes of streetism.


Children in the urban areas are quickly caught up in the daily struggle for survival and material gain (Ebigbo, 1989). A situation analysis of child abuse and neglect in Nigeria, undertaken through the medium of news papers, found that child abandonment, sexual abuse, child neglect, vagrancy, kidnapping and hawking were the most reported forms of child abuse and neglect (Ebigbo, 1989).

Child abuse is seen as a feature of other social phenomena or situations, rather than as phenomenon in its own right. Thus, sexual abuse and exploitation, for example, do not constitute a single category but are mentioned in this account relating it with child labour. There is no generally accepted definition for the term ‘child abuse’, but it simply refers to the ill – treatment of a child by his parent or any other adult. Edu and Edu (1999) describe child abuse as a willful maltreatment of a child. Such maltreatment, according to them can include acts of commission (abuse) and omission (neglect). One of the basic principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child is that every child must be protected against all forms of exploitation, indecent or degrading treatment, including child labour, abduction and sale (UNICEF., 2000). According to the UNICEF, exploiting the labour of a child means employing a person.