Alex Enumah in Abuja
Nigeria, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other developmental agencies are set to develop national work plans to eliminate child labour in the country.
Stakeholders, including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), labour congress and unions in the mining, cocoa and gold supply chain, at a two-day workshop in Abuja, called for synergy and determination on the part of all in ending the menace of child labour and trafficking in Nigeria and Africa by the year 2025.
The two-day workshop organised by ILO, and financed by the government of Netherlands, was part of ILO’s project Acceleration of Action in the Elimination of Child Labour In Supply Chains In Africa (ACCEL).
The project covers six African countries – Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, and Uganda.
Meanwhile the Netherlands has committed the sum of €28 million to accelerate the fight against child trafficking in Nigeria and four other African countries.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, ILO Country Director, Dennis Zulu, revealed that while Nigeria has ratified and domesticated several UN and ILO Conventions, statistics indicate that about 43 per cent of Nigerian children aged between five to 10 years are involved in child labour activities, including worst form of child labour.
The United Nations described these conditions to include works in quarry, granite and mining extraction, international sexual exploitation, and armed conflict.
Zulu, however noted that the project which focuses on the supply chains in cocoa and mining in the country will work with local authorities to facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This is because those are some of the supply chains where there is quite a high level of child labour.
“So, we will be working with local authorities and local governments to see how the children who are withdrawn from child labour can be placed in schools, providing some means of support to the families”, the country director said. On his part, the Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, Marion van de Coppello, said that ILO was trusted by the government of Netherlands to facilitate the project in the African countries.
“We think that a child should have the opportunity to go to school, to be a child but we also understand, we had the same situation in Europe two centuries ago, that it is not just child labour.
“It has to do with the whole of the economy, with the social situation, the economic situation of the parents and so forth,” she said.