The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Niger state on Saturday called on the state government to prosecute parents and guardians of street children for child abuse offences.
Its Chairman, Mr Idris Ndako, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
Ndako said that such step if taken, would serve as deterrent to parents and guardians who abuse children in any form.
The NLC chair called for a law that would be binding on all defaulters, noting that a lot of children had lost their destinies due to street begging.
“We continue to say that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but that is only true if they are given the basic training as children.
“These children are seen begging for food on a daily basis; their identity is plastic plates with rope tied around their necks.
“They are usually in worn-out, filthy clothes.
“Niger state government should promulgate a law against the trafficking of male children from the neighbouring states in the name of acquiring Islamic knowledge, only for them to end up as child beggars.
“It is a fact that every child has the right to learn in any part the country and the world at large, but it has to be the responsibility of parents or funding organisations if on scholarship.
“Underage children cannot be patrolling our streets begging for money and food, when they are supposed to be learning in a formal school system and government just looks away,” he said.
According to Ndako, an average Islamic teacher does not have food to give to the teeming pupils under his tutelage and is, therefore, left with no choice than to allow them go begging for their daily up-keep.
“This is child labour and government should do the needful on this matter to save the children and the society,” he stated.