By Funmi Komolafe, Asst Editor
GENEVA â€” Nigeria has thrown her weight behind the call of African countries for a review of the International Labour Organisation Constitution which has placed Africa in a disadvantage position just as she cautioned the ILO against hurried referal of members non compliance with Conventions to the International Court of Justice.
Labour and Productivity minister, Chief Emeka Wogu, who made Nigeriaâ€™s position known while addressing a meeting of the Non- Aligned Movement Labour Ministers at the on-going 99th session of the International Labour Conference said: â€œThis relaunch we believe would facilitate the realisation of a level-playing field for all ILO member states, while abolishing the dichotomy of which, currently exists, and which excludes the African States from the countries of Chief Industrial Importance.â€
“The Government of Nigeria supports the repeated request by the Non- Aligned that all regional groups be represented in the Committee on Freedom of Association.
â€œAt present, Africa and one other region share rotational membership of the body. This should not be allowed to continue and any legal impediment in the way of achieving equity and fairness in regional representation in the activities of the this Committee needs to be overcome:
â€œThe Government of Nigeria supports the jointly agreed position at the last AU-Labour and Social Affairs Commission,Â AU-LASC, where the African Labour Ministers and Heads of State and Government committed to the need for the ILO to re-launch the 1986 amendment to the ILO Constitution.”
Chief Wogu who called for greater transparency in the listing of cases that must be heard by the Committee on the Application of Standards said: â€œThe Nigerian delegation supports the position already adopted that such countries needed to be aware of this, some months before the Conference, thereby enabling such delegation to prepare a proper defence.â€
He added, â€œ The reference of some protracted cases to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, or International Court for Human Rights should be weighed carefully to determine the most effective means of achieving compliance with International law and practice, by such non – compliant Nationsâ€.
The ministerâ€™s comments came against the background of the last conference when the Committee on the Application of Standards, listed Nigeria for non compliance with factory inspection which resulted in the death or injury of many workers.
Explaining the rationale for Nigeriaâ€™s position, Chief Emeka Wogu said, â€œ We make this point in recognition of the fact that the ILO has its core mandate in the world of work, where labour rights remain a significant part of human rights and this should inform decision on appropriate adjudication bodyâ€.
On effective writing of report, an area where the ILO at the 98th conference noted that Nigeria had been defective, the minister sought the orgnaisationâ€™s assistance when he said, â€œ Nigeria shall appreciate ILOâ€™s technical assistance for our officers for effective report writingâ€.
The minister however, commended the ILO for choosing Nigeria â€œ as one of the countries in Africa to serve as a pilot case for the effective implementation of the Global Jobs Pact through Decent Work Country Programmeâ€.
The Decent Work Country Programme is designed to tackle the job crisis which arose from the current global crisis.
Chief Emeka Wogu said the DWCP â€œ will highlight the role of Labour Ministers as part of National Economic Teams, to network with their counterparts in the ministries of Finance, Economic Development and Planning.
It is our view that the growing synergy in these key ministries would be one of the ways to mainstream job-rich investments in the economic development blueprints of nations and to follow this through by targeting massive employment outcomes and capacity building in some demand-driven skillsâ€.
He said, â€œ Nigeria strongly expresses the position that Social Justice Declaration for a fair globalisation remain a valid reference document that must be taken on board with the Global Jobs Pact as nations battle to stabilise their economies in the midst of current challenges, and through ILOâ€™s capacity to assist its constitutents emerge from the present job crisis is hereby acknowledgedâ€.