Motor bikes have become one of the most convenient ways of commercial transportation in Nigeria. They have the ability to meander through heavy traffic with relative ease and take you to your door steps thereby saving time. The profession of Okada riding in Nigeria has provided jobs to millions of youths across the nation more than any government scheme in recent years.
In Plateau State, the most preferred brand of motorbike is the Jincheng brand, made from China. They are more durable, able to withstand rough handling of the Okada riders and the difficult rural terrain to a reasonable extent. Jincheng bikes come in parts unassembled, in large cartons and are assembled locally. If you have never being to an Jincheng assembly workshop, many of which are found along Bauchi Road, you will be ignorant of the fact that the bikes are assembled by kids as young as ten year-olds
Following recent revelations that heads of public schools in rural areas have enjoyed the habit of using pupils in their private farms during school hours, the Plateau State Government was made to realize that child labour is right here in its backyard and has henceforth, decided to act tough against the practice. Honorable Istifanus Mwansat a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly said as far as the Bauchi Road kids go to school but get involve in the bike assembly after school, it does not constitute any illegality to him. He added that there is a chance that these children come from underprivileged homes and will thus be doing that as the best chance for a brighter future.
Laws against child labour frown against the use of kids as they are liable to exploitations by employers who take advantage of their ages. It is also possible that the use of kids as labourers prevents them from normal emotional development that can affect them later in life. The proprietors of the workshops along Bauchi road say the children are mere apprentices and actually get engaged after school. The labour involved, as this writer observed, was not so serious as to make a child feel overworked and depressed. It is obvious that the kids find pleasure in what goes on at their workshop