School-age children in Niger abandon school for artisan mining
Children in Keteringi in Kacha Local Government Area of Niger State have abandoned school for artisan mining activities in the area, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
A check on some of the mining sites by a NAN Correspondent showed that children of about 10 years to 15 years, who were supposed to be in school, were engaged in mining minerals.
Some youths, aged men and pregnant women were also seen in large number participating in the business.
Bashir Ibrahim, one of the teenagers, told NAN: “We are looking for gold as means of livelihood.
“We don’t have any other work to do hence we need to participate in the mining business.”
Ramatu Isa, a pregnant woman, said: “I am in this business to enable me to cater for my family.
“I am aware that this is not healthy for me and the baby I am carrying, but I cannot just be idle; I have to support my husband.
I usually get N3,000 per day, depending on the number of gold found while breaking stones.”
Malam Abubakar Dogo said: “I came from Kaduna State because I got information that the mining business is profitable.
“The business is very lucrative.
“We sell one gramme of gold for N10,0000, which is very good.”
Kabiru Musa said: “We have sponsors that provide mining equipment which make our work easy and we share the profit together.
“I built my personal house, got a new wife from the business and of recent bought a motor cycle.
“I am not ready to quit the business as I am planning to buy a new set of mining equipment so that others can rent from me.”
Reaction, Adamu Garba, the Director of Mining, Niger State Ministry of the Environment, advised artisan miners to join mining cooperative societies.
Garba said this would enable them to follow due process in obtaining permit from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
He said that if they were registered, they could be employed by registered mining companies and contributes positively towards enhancing the nation’s revenue base.
He described the participation of children in the mining as child labour, which should be frowned at.
The director also advised youths in the area to form cooperative societies to legalise their activities.
He urged parents to desist from allowing their children to participate in mining business but enroll them in schools to acquire formal education.