Sherif Muhammad, an internally displaced person from Bama town in Borno State now living in Maiduguri, told DW that putting his sons and daughters to work is simply a matter of survival. "It is true we send our children to go and work so that they will get some money for us to buy food. We send boys to go to streets and beg. We also send girls to houses to work as domestic servants."
Globally there are over 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 working when they should not. 15 million of them are in Nigeria, which has the highest rate of working children in West Africa.
Children's rights activist Zariyatu Abubakar told DW that the situation there is alarming. Children are not only being sent to work to help support their families, "some don't have parents and have to support themselves and their younger siblings," because their mothers and fathers have been killed, Abubakar said. He sees the government as responsible for the welfare of the country's children. She called on it to take action: "These are only children. They need to be supported, to go to school," Abubakar said, adding: "Somebody has to take responsibility. Either the government or nongovernmental organizations have to support and educate them, feed them and provide shelter for them."