Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has appealed to the United State Government for technical support in order to help tackle child as well as eradicate poverty in the country.
Ngige made the appeal when the United State Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mary Leonard paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
While enumerating the efforts and achievements recorded so far in the fight against child labour, he revealed that logistics has posed as a hindrance for Nigerian government from reaching many areas where child labour is endemic.
“We have called on Department of Labour (DOL) of the United State of America to assist Nigeria. We need technical assistance, not America’s money. We have even requested for and logistics assistance like for vehicles so we can take the fight to the states as well as labour inspections.
“As at now, we have done 14,000 inspections since we came in to office out of which we detected about 3,900 as child labour defaulters. We have also tried to empower those people to help bring them out of poverty.”
He told the minister that despite the agreement reached with the United States in 2016 on areas of tackling Chile Labour, most of the resolutions reached have been neglected by the US government.
However, he appealed to the Ambassador to use her good office to assist Nigeria tackle the scourge of poverty and child labour in the country.
“In 2016, I led Nigerian delegation to AGOA conference in Washington where it was agreed on a joint meeting to tackle poverty and child labour but unfortunately, today some of the resolutions of the meeting are not being implemented especially in Nigeria.
“We have also noticed that Nigeria has been skipped because USA has provided a lot of technical assistance to Cote d’ivoire, Ghana and Sudan. We don’t know why we were left out.
“If you check our GDP you will see that things are not really working here, so we are still calling for on the government of United States to support Nigeria in putting schools, clinics as well as programmes of empowerment in areas where child labour is endemic here. The root cause of child labour is poverty.
“Yes, we are working together but we are not seeing your hand. The Department of Labour is paying lip service to it.”
On her part, the Mary Leonard, reiterated the US government’s commitment in the fight to ensure that Child Labour and poverty is eradicated from the country.