March 26, 2023

Ngige bows out of ILO governing body

ASUU strike

Senator Chris Ngige

—Hands over to world body two Conventions ratified by Nigeria
—As ILO commends FG for promoting tripartism, social dialogue, decent work

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has exited from the Governing Council of the International Labour Organisation, ILO after serving for five years in the council.

Though, Senator Ngige still has one year to complete his second tenure of three years, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to come to an end on May 29 this year when the minister will cease to be a cabinet member of the administration.

Meanwhile the ILO has eulogised Nigeria for its unprecedented commitment to tripartism, social dialogue and decent work.

The Director General of the ILO, Gilbert Houngbo made the commendation weekend, in Geneva, Switzerland while receiving from Senator Ngige, two instruments comprising conventions 1975 (143) on Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention and Convention 1997 (181) on Private Employment Agencies, which Nigeria ratified.

A statement issued by Olajide Oshundun, Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, quoted the ILO DG as saying, “I have to note particularly, the renewed passion and commitment which the Nigerian government has given to tripartism, social dialogue and decent work in the past few years, making it possible to ratify four conventions in a year.

“I recall that Nigeria’s Minister was here in November 2022, to deposit two ratified instruments–Conventions 2006 C (187) on Promotional framework for occupational safety and Health, and 2019 C (190) on Violence and Harassment and in less than five months, the nation has ratified and deposited two additional conventions. That is quite commendable.”

The Director General, who noted the contributions of the Nigeria’s Minister of Labour to the Governing Body and the Congress since 2016, described Ngige who is attending his last Governing Body meeting, as “knowledgeable and industrious.”

“He has been a great voice in the Governing Body and we will appreciate if he keeps in touch with the ILO even after his present tenure as Nigeria’s Minister.”

Earlier, the Minister while depositing the ratified Conventions C143 and C181 said they are critical in widening employment net and decent job in the world of work, and noted that they would reinforce Nigeria’s capacity and enhance cooperation with other countries in protecting migrant workers through ethical recruitment.

“These conventions will enhance remittance flow and optimize the benefits of organized labor migration in our country. It will go further to reinforce our ability to enter into Bilateral Labour Agreement (BLA) or Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with destination countries who have ratified the same Convention,” Ngige said.

The Minister added that the ratification of the conventions was painstakingly put together, passing through the deliberative crucible of stakeholder dialogue as well as a workshop to properly align them with relevant national laws and policies including the Labour Act CAP LI, National Policy on Labour Migration, National Employment Policy as well as National Migration Policy.

“In due diligence and legislative scrutiny, we ensured that these two ratified conventions are in tune with the International Labour Migration Division and National Electronic Labour Exchange (ILMD/NELEX) to manage organized labor migration in and out of the country.

“They are also in line with our objectives in establishing Job Centres and Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) to promote employment services and safe migration in Nigeria.

“In November 2022, when I deposited two conventions ratified by Nigeria, I did not hint to the Director General that we had about four others still in the mills. I kept it close to the chest that we will soon bring them after ratification. Today, we have two of these ratified instruments, signed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari,” the Minister added.

Also at the event, the ILO Regional Director for Africa, Nigeria’s Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, praised President Buhari for hosting the Global Youth Employment Forum in Abuja in 2019 and requested the next government to take such continental project notches higher given the bulge in youth population and unemployment.