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Minister denies supporting child labour in toothpick manufacturing

Uju Kennedy, the Minister of Women Affairs, clarified that her proposition for local toothpick production was never about advocating child labor but rather focused on empowering schoolgirls.

Kennedy, who was featured on the Monday edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, clarified her stance on reports that she had supposedly recommended Nigeria emulate China’s practice of involving schoolchildren in the manufacturing of goods like toothpicks on Fridays.

  • “I never said the children will be used for the production of toothpicks. I don’t know why you people keep mentioning toothpicks,
  • “I never said the children should produce toothpicks. I said I want to put vocational machines in schools where these children will learn skills,” she said.

Kennedy restated her pledge to offer vocational training chances to kids, stressing that she had never advocated the use of children in toothpick production.

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Furthermore, the Minister for Women’s Affairs underscored the significance of vocational education, underscoring that these institutions would enable young girls to attain skills that could lead to financial independence by the age of 18.

She underlined her vision to establish centers resembling factories, where practical training and the production of useful items would occur concurrently, providing financial support for students’ education.

  • “I equally said I will not bring just ordinary people to teach them; I will have it as a factory there so that while they are being taught, the factory can equally be producing that same thing and be making small money to empower those girls when they leave school and turn 18,” she said.

In addition, Kennedy pointed to a school where comparable vocational facilities had effectively educated individuals in a range of skills, such as plumbing and furniture making.

  • “I will tell you there’s a school in Dariki. I have said it before and I’m saying it again, I hope the Nigerian people won’t get bored of my repetition of these things.
  • “This school I went personally to visit has a lot of acquisition centers, they have for plumbers, they have for people that produce chairs. These children go there, and a lot of girls are planning to be plumbers in the future,” she added.

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