By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Federal Government at the weekend threw its weight behind the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to eradicate child labour in Nigeria’s mining sector.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Mua’zu, stated this when the Director, ILO, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Mr Dennis Zulu, visited him in Abuja.
Mua’zu expressed optimism that with ILO’s Accelerating Action on Elimination of Child Labour in Africa (ACCEL AFRICA), child labour will be eliminated from the nation’s mining sector, adding that the project currently runs in Niger and Ondo states.
He said: “About 80 per cent of mining activities are still at an artisanal level which to a large extent, involve women and children.
“The initiative taken by the ministry to formalize artisanally and make it economically viable would curb associated social menaces like child labour in the mining industry.
“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has thrown its weight behind the Accelerating Action on Elimination of Child Labour in Africa (ACCEL AFRICA), aimed at eliminating child labour. We commend the team for the project our ministry will continue to support the project to achieve its goal.”
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary urged ILO to extend its project, ACCEL AFRICA, to other states in the country, because there is no state in Nigeria where one form of mining or the other does not take place.
Speaking earlier, ILO Country Director, represented by the National Project Coordinator ACCEL Africa Project ILO, Abuja Office, Agatha Kolawole, said the visit was to seek a closer working relationship in addressing the issue of child labour in the mining industry.