The Nigerian Experience of exploitation of Minors in football

In Nigeria, despite efforts made by the federal government to curtail illegal migration in the country, the rate of trafficking and abuse of young Nigerian footballers continues to rise.

The absence of regulations governing the transfer of underage football players has fallen short of halting the trend. Findings revealed that illegal migration of these young Nigerian boys is mostly carried out by criminals who purport to be agents, they defraud desperate young footballers online. Most of them operate out of Nigeria and Ukraine.minors in football in Nigeria

Reports and research have shown that out of the 15,000 young African players traveling to achieve their footballing dream each year, less than 1 percent of them realise this dream. Soccer data analysis also points out that there are approximately 604 players with Nigerian nationality who currently play worldwide in clubs outside, of which under 400 play in 47 European. Out of 65 players currently playing in the five major leagues – England, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France – only 17 play at the equivalent of the Premier League. Sadly, while a research conducted by Paris-based charity Foot Solidaire, in 2013 revealed that about 15,000 young boys travel to Europe and other countries from West Africa each year, it pointed out that some travel by air, mostly to Eastern Europe, using short-stay visas while others walk across the Sahara Desert to countries like Tunisia and Morocco taking dangerous boat journeys to various parts of Europe.

Once in Europe, they are abandoned after parting with their family’s life savings. While those who are lucky enough make it to the trials but fail to get through are also abandoned by the agents as they no longer serve any economic purpose. Faced with the harsh realities, those left with no money are most times too ashamed to let their families back home know the truth. They overstay their visa and become destitute on the streets of Europe. The average age of these trafficked players is actually 16yrs.

It is important to reiterate Article 32 of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the USA on November 20, 1989, which stipulates that:

“The States recognise the right of the child to be protected from the economic exploitation and not to be compelled with any work comprising of the risks or likely to compromise its education or to harm its health or its development physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social.”

law aimed particularly at defensive young human beings in recreation consists of the european parliament decision of 29 march 2007 on the future of professional football in europe; and in 2001, the worldwide governing frame for soccer, fédération internationale de football affiliation (fifa), brought the rules at the fame and transfer of players of fifa (rstp). even as rstp, with some exemptions, prohibits the international transfer of minors underneath 18 years regardless of these regulations, a few clubs nonetheless “recruit in africa, a few gamers at 14,” as a result the need for fifa and countrywide football institutions to do greater to maintain golf equipment informed approximately their guidelines that shield minors.

the federal government of nigeria in a bid to arrest and scale back the scourge of trafficking, abuse, and unlawful migration, set up a committee to analyse and proffer treatments to fight these unlawful sports. a statement from the ministry of indoors, edo state governor, godwin obaseki, raised the alarm over the extent of migration by using residents of his state. the governor said, “irregular migration of edo nation indigenes has reached epidemic proportions, and from the facts of returnees kept by the country, more than 63 percentage of trafficked individuals have been boys, that is an aberration (sic) from the same old exercise of trafficking ordinarily ladies.”

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