Nigeria Launches National Policy On Child, Forced Labour
Nigeria has launched the National Policy on Child/Forced Labour while being urged to march words with action in the implementation of the new Policy by the International Labour Organisation ILO.
The ILO Country Director, who was represented by Mrs Chichi Emeka – Anunu, at the formal launch of the Policy and the National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour/Forced Labour by 2025 in Abuja, the nation’s capital said with optimism and dedication from relevant authorities, the Sustainable Development Goals 8.7 which deals with the elimination of Child and Forced labour will be achieved.
She commended Nigeria for operationalising one of the Action Pledges it made at the Global Launch of the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour IYECL in March saying that the implementation of the pledges required the collective action of all the stakeholders.
She also pledged the support of the ILO to all its tripartite partners and all other relevant stakeholders in the fight against Child Labour.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the event is also to commemorate the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour as part of global action to accelerate the fight against the practice.
The event will also usher in the implementation of the Action Pledges made by Nigeria at the global launch on 21st January 2021.
According to the Minister,“All is now set to take immediate steps to implement the Action Pledges and other activities aimed at eliminating Child Labour in order to achieve the target of having a society free of Child Labour and other forms of modern slavery by 2025.”
The UN General Assembly had in July 2019 declared 2021 as the “International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour,” and the International Labour Organization (ILO) was mandated to take the lead in implementing it.
The declaration, Ngige said, “Was a call for an accelerated pace of progress at all levels in the global fight against Child Labour, through practical and innovative actions, and awareness creation programmes at global, regional and national levels.”
At the African Regional Launch of IYECL held on 31st March 2021, Nigeria also demonstrated her readiness to shift from commitment to action in achieving the African Union (AU) agenda.
“The Action Pledges, presented by Nigeria at the international launch of IYECL, prioritized key activities towards the achievement of Target 8.7 of the SDGs, which seeks to end Child Labour, Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking by 2025,” the Minister said.
The Pledges include the validation of the second cycle of the National Policy on the Elimination of Child Labour and its National Action Plan, before the end of February.
Ngige noted that this pledge had been achieved already as “The reviewed National Policy on Child Labour and the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour (2021 – 2025) was validated earlier today.”
Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen said that every child has a right to education and live in a home where he or she is properly cared for.
“The Nigerian child deserves a good education and medical care and to be protected from all forms of abuse,” she said.
She also called on State governments who are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act to do so without further delay.
Statistics according to the Nigerian government shows that 43% of Nigerian children between the ages of 15-17 years are engaged in economic activities which according to the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yarima Tarfa, “Is an indication that modern slavery and child labour is still prevalent in the country.”
He, therefore, called on all concerned to respect the document as a tool to eradicate the menace of child and forced labour in the country.
All the government social partners including the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Trade Union Congress TUC and the Nigeria Employer Consultative Association NECA, signed into the document.
Some School children also graced the occasion with a touching presentation on the need to preserve their future.