The Federal Government has urged all stakeholders to partner with government in addressing the increasing phenomenon of Child Labour.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, made the call on the occasion of the Symposium in commemoration of the 2019 World Day Against Child Labour, in Abuja.
The theme for this year’s World Day Against Child Labour is “Children Shouldn’t Work in Fields but on Dreams”.
He encouraged all stakeholders to take more practical steps to prevent and respond to child labour by addressing its root cause of poverty, lack of basic education, among others.
To address the menace of Child Labour, the Permanent Secretary said governments at all levels needed to prioritize the provisions of free and qualitative basic education to the rural communities and urban areas where child labour is endemic.
Alo also advocated that parents, especially mothers, should be trained on skills that would provide alternative means of livelihood, to address the problem of poverty.
The Permanent Secretary described the theme for this year’s World Day Against Child Labour as apt and timely, as “it is aimed at eliminating Child labour on the fields and using quality education as means of actualizing children’s dreams.”
He acknowledged that Nigeria had taken necessary steps in fighting the scourge through such measures as the Adoption of the National Policy on Child Labour and its National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria, and the Adoption of the List of Hazardous Child Labour in Nigeria, which children must not be involved in.
Alo added that Nigeria also developed and validated the National Reporting Template on the Elimination of Child Labour, which had been deployed for use in the State Labour Offices nationwide.
The Permanent Secretary said Nigeria’s achievement in the fight against child labour gained her admittance as a member of Pathfinder Countries of Alliance 8.7, which mandates her “to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour,
end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end Child Labour in all its worst forms”.
Speaking, the ILO Country Director, Dennis Zulu, said ILO had continued to support a wide range of work contributing to the elimination of child labour though “the provision of technical assistance to constituents, improving the knowledge base and supporting the movement against child labour through partnerships, advocacy and direct action programmes.”
According to Zulu, “ILO pursues an increasingly integrated approach to the elimination of child labour, linking fundamental rights, decent work, social protection and education.”
He commended Nigeria for being on the right track in the fight against child labour, as a pathfinder country and a member of Alliance 8.7, a platform which aims at putting an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abdulkadir Mu’azu, represented by Ime Ekrikpo, stated the resolve of the Ministry to support all programmes aimed at fighting child labour.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, represented by Engr Adole, said children should not be engaged in strenuous activities at the expense of their development.
The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, represented by Mr Obaike Azen, identified lack of social security support for the young and the aged as a major factor in the promotion of child labour.
The Director, Inspectorate of the Ministry, Mrs Amahian Jegbefumeh, stated that the World Day Against Child Labour is commemorated annually to raise awareness and sensitization on the prevalent practice of child labour, and the need for its eradication.