Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The federal government has expressed worry that there are still child labour practices in country despite policies and efforts to eradicate it.
The government’s concern came just as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) stated that a research in partnership with UNICEF on the role of social protection in the elimination of child labour’ revealed that 1.5 billion children worldwide, aged 0-14, receive no family or child cash benefits.
Speaking yesterday during an interactive session with journalists to commemorate this year’s World Day Against Child Labour 2022, with the theme; “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour,” the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said the Ministry of Labour and Employment in collaboration with the ILO and other stakeholders have been working assiduously to ensure the elimination of Child Labour in line with SDG.
He also said the Ministry recently conducted the Child Labour/ Forced Labour Survey in collaboration with the ILO and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), adding that the last survey was conducted 22 years ago.
On the efforts to reduce incidence of child labour, Ngige said the government was implementing vigorously the National Children School Feeding Programme (NCSFP) which is the major plank of the battle to fight Child Labour, increasing children school enrolment and preventing children dropping out of schools.
In terms of International Standards, Ngige said Nigeria has ratified the two ILO key Conventions that are instrumental in the elimination of Child Labour
Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for work and Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of work.
The Director of the ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Vanessa P’hala said: “We have a serious situation on our hands, and that is putting it mildly.
“The role of social protection in the elimination of child labour’ reveals that 1.5 billion children worldwide, aged 0-14, receive no family or child cash benefits while more than 160 million children- that’s I in 10 children aged 5-17-are still engaged in child labour, and progress has stalled since 2016. (ILO, UNICEF 2022′).”
She said that without immediate action, the number of children in child labour could rise by 8.9 million by the end of this year, due to increased poverty and vulnerability (ILO and UNICEF 2021).