The Federal Government says it is committed towards 80 percent eradication of Child Labour in Nigeria by 2025.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the 2021 commemoration of World Day against Child Labour.
Ngige said no government has made efforts to eradicate Child Labour in Nigeria like the current administration, which introduced school feeding programme to lure children back to school.
He said the Federal Government through the Ministry of Labour and Employment in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other stakeholders has the primary responsibility of ensuring that children are not engaged in work that constitutes Child Labour and that young workers of legal working age are duly protected and work in safe conditions.
The Minister noted that this year’s World Day against Child Labour, with the theme “Act Now: End Child Labour,” focuses on pledges made for the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour and the need to take immediate action to accelerate progress on the elimination of Child Labour.
He said, “It is the first International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour since the ratification of ILO’s Convention 182 on the ‘Worst Forms of Child Labour’ and it is taking place at the time when COVID-19 crisis threatened to reverse years of progress in tackling Child Labour.
“In June this year, the ILO and UNICEF will release new global estimates and trends on Child Labour under the aegis of Alliance 8.7. The report will include an assessment of how the pace of progress towards ending Child Labour is likely to be affected by COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic crisis that has accompanied it.”
Ngige maintained that the Federal Government has created the enabling environment for the fight against the menace through the ratification and adoption of key International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
According to him, the ILO conventions ratified and adopted by Nigeria include the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, No.182 (1999), the Minimum Age Convention, No.138 (1970), Forced Labour Convention, No.29 (1930), UN Convention on the Right of the child, amongst others.
He said Nigeria has also approved policy documents on National Policy on Child Labour, National Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria and a comprehensive list of hazardous work.
“Among numerous other measures adopted include the Establishment of National Steering Committee on Child Labour (NSCCL) by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, and inauguration of the State Steering Committees on Child Labour (SSCCL) with designated desk officers.”
He added that the Ministry is reviewing the Labour Act, CAP L1, LFN, 2004 and other labour laws in order to address all the gaps and barriers to effective Labour Administration and Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria.
Earlier, the IL0 country representative, Venessa Phala lamented that 92 million children in Africa were involved in Child Labour, out of which 41 million were involved in the most hazardous one.
Phala urged national governments in Africa to deal with poverty, which is the main driver of the menace.
She assured of ILO’s support for Nigeria in tackling Child Labour, adding that they were committed to working with the Labour Minister in the quest to save Nigerian children from this social malaise.