Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment has called for international cooperation to eradicate child labour in Nigeria.
Ngige made the call in a statement signed by Mr Charles Akpan, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said this at a high-level bilateral meeting of the ongoing conference, entitled; “Taking Next Steps; Ending Child Labour by 2025,” in Leiden, Netherlands.
Ngige said that the Federal Government made efforts in remarking the domestication of the ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on the Minimum Age and Worst Forms of Child Labour.
He also noted that the Nigerian government have also enacted the Child Rights Acts of 2003, to consolidate all the existing laws on the fundamental rights of children.
The Minister, however, said central to the raging social problem was poverty and called on the international cooperation to be focused on assistance to the education of the deprived child.
He also called for the institutionalization of the social welfare programmes to empower poor parents and provision of logistics for mass mobilisation against child labour.
“We will need assistance to site special schools in the mining fields of Zamfara, Niger, Katsina and Plateau States, in cocoa plantations of Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Abia as well as in the palm oil farms of Imo, Abia, Cross River, Anambra, Edo among others.
“This is where poverty has taken children away from schools,” Ngige said.
Ngige further said that on anti-labour practices such as casualisation, insufficient paid work, working-poor among others that the ministry’s strategy was to sensitise all the social partners to their responsibilities.
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He, therefore, citied the pressure on Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), to expand its activities to all the states of the federation to net in dispersed private sector groups and ease accountability to labour standards.
He further pledged Nigeria’s continued commitment to her frontline position but underscored the imperative of international assistance to successfully win the battle.
The minister added that seminars and conferences would achieve very little without practical steps to assist developing nations achieve national targets.
“Causes and strategies for tackling child labour differ across countries. Resolutions at distant destinations no matter how good will play less role than direct foreign assistance.
“Assistance to help nations push up education budget to at least 15 per cent, build schools in areas affected by child labour, institutionalise social intervention to empower poor parents and avail logistic for a multi-pronged awareness campaign against child labour”, Ngige said.
He informed the conference that tackling child labour was topmost in the agenda of the Federal Government, necessitating the formation of an inter-ministerial committee by the Federal Executive Council to engender and galvanize multi-agency participation towards its realisation.
Also Mr Guy Ryder, Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO) commended Nigeria on her efforts at eradicating child labour.
According to him, Africa being in the conference was extremely important.
He said that the bilateral forum was to discuss the country’s efforts, peculiar challenges and sort out areas of cooperation in order to bolster Nigeria’s capacity at winning the battle against modern slavery.
He noted that ILO has declared that eliminating child labour, trafficking and slavery in Africa would hardly succeed without the pivotal role Nigeria plays as a pathfinder country in 8.7 Alliance against modern slavery. (NAN)