The International Labour Organization ILO has attributed the recent rise in child labour, force labour, child trafficking and modern slavery to poverty, insecurity and unemployment in the country
Speaking in Abuja, the Director ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Venessa Phala, noted that the number of children in child labour has risen to one hundred and sixty million worldwide-an increase of eight point four million children compared with the last report.
Phala, who disclosed this in her welcome remarks during the National Child Labour and Force Labour Survey Validation Workshop said the eradication of child labour and force labour in Nigeria requires the development of monitoring infrastructure to determine and measure its magnitude, distribution, dimensions and characteristics at the national and sub-national levels.
Children mostly affected are under the ages of 5 to 17, with most of them working in jobs that deprive them of their childhood, interfere with their education or harm their mental, physical or social development.
Stakeholders in the labour circle have however attributed the recent increase to factors associated with poverty, insecurity and unemployment in the country.
Phala said children have a right to better lives than engaging in forced labour practices just to shore up income on behalf of their parents.
She argued that the practice of engaging under-aged children in eking out a living runs contrary to the ILO Convention on the World of Work.
“We all know that the number of children engaging in child labour has risen to 160million worldwide, which is representing an increase of 8.4million children when compared with the last report.
“In eradicating the scourge of child labour and force labour in Nigeria, concerted efforts are required from all stakeholders, part of which is the development of monitoring infrastructure to determine and measure its magnitude, distribution, dimensions and characteristics at the national and sub-national levels,”Phala stated.
Corroborating the ILO’s position, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachollom Daju, said government is not resting on its oars to see that the fight against child labour and force labour is reduced to the bearest minimum, if not completely eradicated.
She noted that children who are seen as leaders of the future ought not to be exposed to such practices at a tender age but rather shown love and properly catered for, for the general good of the country.
“I will use this opportunity to enjoin Nigerians across the federation to remain steadfast in the fight against the rising child labour, force labour and modern slavery practices so as to eradicate it from our society”.
Also Speaking, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachollom Daju, who said the country has improved in the fight against child labour and force labour advised that children who are the leaders of tomorrow should be loved and properly trained for the betterment of the nation.
Daju however charged Nigerians across the federation to remain steadfast in the fight against the rising child labour, force labour and modern slavery.
Recall that the ILO recently sealed a partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to unveil a new national survey for child labour in Nigeria with a view to helping the government and key stakeholders in their intervention programmes.