Nigeria Witnessing Rising Cases of Child Labour, Say Aisha Buhari, Ngige
•Seek more investment in social protection
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Child labour has remained a major threat to development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) in Nigeria in spite of legislative measures that had been taken by the government at various levels to curb it.
Both the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige disclosed this yesterday, during the commemoration of the National Children Conference held at the Banquet Hall State House Abuja.
In her speech, Mrs. Buhari called for increased investment in social protection systems and schemes to establish solid social protection floors and protect children from child labour.
“Child labour remains a major threat to child development in Nigeria, in spite of legislative measures taken by the government at various levels to curb it,” she said.
While highlighting efforts being made by Nigeria to reduce cases of child labour, Mrs. Buhari said there were a lot of activities which had led to considerable difference in the area of awareness creation among parents, children and even schools.
She said as part of efforts to reduce incidence of child labour, the government was implementing vigorously the National Children School Feeding Programme which is the major plank of the battle to fight Child Labour, increasing children school enrolment and preventing children dropping out of schools.
“Worthy of note too is the adoption of the child rights law and other protective laws by governments at the state level as also playing a critical role in militating against child labour.
“I have to admit that there are a lot of activities in this sector which have led to considerable difference in the area of awareness creation among parents, children and even schools.
“I call on us all to do more because we are getting more victims and also the circumstances leading to child labour still subsist.
“The eradication of child labour however requires a systemic approach and effective policies to strengthen social protection systems, education, and decent work opportunities for parents and caregivers to address the conditions that drive child labour,” she said.
The First Lady said yesterday’s event was primarily to celebrate the children, adding that it also provided the avenue to call for increased investment in social protection systems and schemes to establish solid social protection floors and protect children from child labour.
On his part, Ngige expressed concern that cases of child labour had continued to increase in Nigeria.
He said child labour had become a scourge with several children flooding the streets, being forced to make a living, with others employed in industrial complexes, and hazardous environments.
Ngige said: “Statistics revealed there are about 15 million child workers as at 2020, according to the ILO, with the UN warning that the absence of mitigating strategies could see an increase of children engaged in Child Labour by the end of 2022. This of course, will most certainly have massive implications in the near future.”
The minister further said that, “Global estimates have shown that child labour is on the rise; with an increase from 152 million to 160 million between 2016 and 2020. “Sub-Saharan Africa has seen 19.6 per cent of all African children in Child Labour, and a possible nine per cent in hazardous work; this is in contrast to continued progress being made elsewhere in the world.”