Stakeholders are brainstorming on how to take the Nigerian child away from the fields and streets and back to the classroom.
this is one of some issues being discussed by the stakeholders as the world marks the 2019 World Day Against Child Labour.
The Federal Ministries of Labour and Employment, Agriculture and Rural Development and that of Mines and Steels Development are on the driver’s seat in this year’s celebration, to ensure that all aspects where children are engaged in economic activities are covered and eliminated.
Nigeria has set the target of 2025 to totally eliminate child labour in the country.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr William Alo, made the revelation in Abuja, at a symposium to mark the 2019 World Day Against Child Labour.
He said Nigeria’s membership of Alliance 8.7, beckons her to take accelerated actions to attain the objectives of Target 8.7 of the SDGs which seeks to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate force labour, end modern day slavery and human trafficking among other things.
Child Rights Act
Though Nigeria has signed the Child Rights Act into law, which gives the Nigerian child the right to education among other benefits, yet the National Bureau of Statistics NBS 2017 Multiple Indication Cluster Survey, reported that about 43 percent of Nigerian children between the ages of 5 and10 are working and about half of these working children are estimated to be engaged in activities tagged as hazardous or worst forms of child labour.
According to the NBS report, “Children in Nigeria are engaged in activities tagged as hazardous or worst forms of labour.
“This includes work in quarry granite and gravel, commercial sexual exploitation and armed conflict.
“Children are seen hawking on the streets or leading alms beggars or working as beggars themselves, several children serve as bus conductors and are exposed to various hazards, thereby killing their dreams” the report stated.
The Permanent Secretary, William Alo, described the theme for this year’s World Day Against Child Labour as apt and timely, as “it is aimed at eliminating Child labour on the fields and using quality education as means of actualizing children’s dreams.”
Alo also advocated that parents, especially mothers, should be trained on skills that would provide alternative means of livelihood, to address the problem of poverty.
He acknowledged that Nigeria had taken necessary steps in fighting the scourge through the adoption of the National Policy on Child Labour and its National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria, as well as the adoption of the List of Hazardous Child Labour in Nigeria, which children must not be involved in.
Alo asaid that Nigeria also developed and validated the National Reporting Template on the Elimination of Child Labour, which had been deployed for use in the State Labour Offices nationwide.
“In recognition of these moderate achievements, Nigeria was admitted as a member of the “Pathfinder Countries of Alliance 8.7”, which mandates her “to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end Child Labour in all its worst forms”, Alo said.
Provision of Technical Assistance
Speaking, ILO Country Director in Nigeria, Dr Dennis Zulu, said ILO had continued to support a wide range of work contributing to the elimination of child labour through the provision of technical assistance to constituents, improving the knowledge base and supporting the movement against child labour through partnerships, advocacy and direct action programmes.
According to a report by the International Labour Organisation ILO, an estimated 25 percent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of 18 years are engaged in economic activities.
According to Zulu, “ILO pursues an increasingly integrated approach to the elimination of child labour, linking fundamental rights, decent work, social protection and education.”
Fight Against Child Labour
He commended Nigeria for being on the right track in the fight against child labour, as a pathfinder country and a member of Alliance 8.7, a platform which aims at putting an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abdulkadir Mu’azu, stated the resolve of the Ministry to support all programmes aimed at fighting child labour.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar in a message, said children should not be engaged in strenuous activities at the expense of their development.
The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service,NIS Mohammed Babandede, identified lack of social security support for the young and the aged as a major factor in the promotion of child labour.
The World Day Against Child Labour is commemorated annually to raise awareness and sensitization on the prevalent practice of child labour, and the need for its eradication.
As part of the activities to mark the day, the organizing Ministries had organised a sensitization road walk in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital city.
Poems and songs on the plights of children were also presented by children and teenagers.