The first reason to hit our minds will most likely be "To make ends meet".
But you question the child's parents. And think "why can't the parents find other ways to provide food and basic needs? Rather than openly putting these children in harms way".
On Sunday last week, I was coming back home from church with my parents. It was a beautiful Sunday service, and we were all so excited to put what we learnt into works.
On the road, stood small boys definitely not more than 12 years hawking groundnuts. The bottled groundnuts looked quite tempting, and my mum decided she'd like to have one.
My dad unwinds the car windows and speaks to one of the boys "elo (how much is your groundnut)?" he asks the boy. The little boy immediately shoved the bottle into my dad's hands. My dad went ahead to inspect the groundnut, making sure we were getting a good product.
My dad gave the bottle to my mum, immediately, the young boy shoved another bottle into my dad's hands.
"400 naira Sir" The boy replies. Now, this is a bottle that will usually sell for less than N250. Of course my mum wasn't happy the boy tried to inflate the price, so she asked my dad to give him back his bottles of groundnuts. "Please give him back his groundnuts" she said to my dad.
Now this is where the story begins. My dad tried to give the boy back his bottles of groundnuts, but the boy refused to collect them. He began to cry "Mummy, please, Daddy please, buy it now" "Mummy please, buy it".
Please note, we were in the car, in minor traffic, with the car slowly moving throughout this transaction. The boy continued running beside the car, begging my parents to buy the groundnuts, crying and refusing to collect the bottles of groundnuts back.
It got me thinking; why would he be so scared of going home with unsold groundnuts? Could it be a market strategy? Or was he in for an earthquake going home with unsold goods.
You know, we see stories in books and movies, where parents, even mothers threaten to beat or starve their children if they don't come home with money from the sales of their goods.
But you begin to wonder, how a mother can be so terrible to a child younger than 12.