By Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice
In Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, young boys and girls (ABU Yaro Boys) within the school environment are seen within hostels running errands for the students population.
The kids who are mostly seen in the evening and weekends are help on hand options for the students who engage them in menial jobs like going to the market, washing their clothes and dishes, making their hair and other menial sundry tasks.
You may argue that this is child labor, but I call it mentoring. These kids are not the everyday almajiri you see on the streets, they are kids from respectful and modest homes who are preparing themselves for the task ahead.
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There are kids of staff of the university mostly. If Obama can permit his daughter to serve as a waitress in a food shop even with his pedigree, then I see no offense in the forced negative labelling of ABU as a breeding ground for child labor.
I remember with all modesty our hustling efforts in Karu. After school hours, we joined others in pushing wheel barrow, selling water to vegetable sellers, joining butchers to wash heads and legs of butchered herds and yet did well in school.
If you lived in the university community and didn’t ceased the plenty opportunities to integrate and make money as a young person, it may be slightly difficult for you to initiate viable enterprise as an adult.
The Nuhu Bamali Gaskiya campus was a haven for us as kids. We helped to get water for the students especially the ladies who in turn rewarded us handsomely. The guys can be stingy when rewarding us for ourselves! It was from my interactions from these students that I got my inspiration to be a university student one day.
From the proceeds of our infantile hustles, we save to buy trending clothes, games and football. While we learn to make money for ourselves we increase unconsciously our responsible template. We learnt from these students as we aspire to be like them. That to me was a beneficial socialization.
The perennial problem of insecurity I’m sure prompted the university authority to organize the kids into traceable network by having them registered and trained. You shout of entrepreneurship yet frown at these kids self hustling efforts.
Again, this is not child labor but opportunity for self reliance. These kids interaction with the students help to create a wallpaper of mentoring, integration and peer modeling.
Because ABU is the only breeding ground for leaders, hence it’s decision to provide a modelling platform for kids who chose to be productive with their spare time. Beef ABU at your peril especially when you are equipped with the indisputable fact that ‘ABUSITES are naturally ahead.