..I’m preparing him for Nigeria’s looming difficult future-Father
By: DOROTHY NEJE
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]is miniature height and stature does not reveal that he has got anything to do with the mechanic workshop, where Motoring World Correspondent found him. Not even his oil-stained brown dress and tattered pare of trousers, which barely cover his tiny pair of legs would make one to reason that he could be an apprentice, for when he stands before an SUV, his hands hardly reaches most parts of the engine compartment. But this correspondent was prompted to ask a question, when Daniel’s boss sent him to fetch a tool.
“Is the young man also a staff”, asked Motoring World correspondent, jokingly, expecting a negative answer. But surprisingly, his boss said, “Yes, he is.”
His name is Daniel Caleb, aged eight, a primary three pupil of Greenfield Private School, Power-line, Ibafo, Ogun State of Nigeria, Daniel’s best subjects in school are Mathematics, Health Science and Moral Education. While his best food is Indomi with Egg.
Shy looking, Daniel told Motoring World that he went into auto mechanic apprenticeship, following his father’s encouragement.
“I started last year”, Daniel said. “My daddy told me to learn it and I like it”.
When this writer found him, he was on holiday and so on duty throughout the day. But according to his father, Mr. Caleb, who does panel beating job close bye, whenever Daniel’s school is in session, he goes for his apprenticeship after closing, which is about an electricity pole from the workshop.
In an interview with our correspondent, Daniel’s father said he decided to encourage his son to start the vocational training at a tender age, because he wants to prepare him for what he described as a the state of hopelessness that many Nigerian youths find themselves after graduating from school.
He explained in Yoruba language: “Although mo fe keep e busy, tori won ni to ba jade school, erepa ni yo ma se, ooto ibe nip e, mi o fe ki omo mi jade ile iwe ko lo maa jiya ati wase kaakiri. To ba kose yii, o le maa make owo even to ba wa ni higher institution. To ba si graduate tan, a maa ri nkan se koto rise(Although I want to keep him busy, because
I learnt that whenever closed from school, he used to engage in hard and dangerous play, the truth is that I don’t want my son to graduate from school and remain unemployed. If he has a skill, he can be earning money from higher institution and even after graduating and pending the time he would get a job. Whether or not he gets a job, he will never remain poor).”
Asked what he likes to be in future, Daniel said: “I like to be a mechanic and a pastor”.
Asked what he has learnt since he started the apprenticeship a year ago, little Daniel explained: “I know brake pad, oil sump, boot, tyres and engine. I have seen oga (his boss) do brake drum.
Does he know how a car is serviced?
“Yes”, he answered. “With 16-socket, you will remove the plugs and put new plugs. Under the car, you will remove a screw under the sump and oil will pour away. After that you will screw it back and open the cover of the engine, pour in new engine oil and cover it back”.
I feel shocked by father admiring his just 8 years old son for labor job, instead of helping him to go school and enough time for play.
Child labor is banned/discouraged in most countries in the world. Children have right to study & play. They can’t be engaged for such labor job. Such irresponsible parents must be charged for criminal offence to force the child for labor.
From our finding, the 8-year-old boy goes to school. Our correspondent located the school and confirmed the boy is in primary 3. The boy goes for the apprenticeship after school and during holiday. But like you said, he doesn’t have time for play.