Onyejeocha Seeks More ILO Support for Nigeria on Job Creation 

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has urged the leadership of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to assist with increased support for youth employment and social security in Nigeria.

This is even as she pushed for the engagements for Nigerian professionals at ILO.

A statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media, Emameh Gabriel, said Onyejeocha made the plea on Wednesday when she met with the Director-General of the ILO, Gilbert Houngbo, in Geneva, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the 350th Session of the ILO governing body.

The minister, on behalf of the government of Nigeria, congratulated Houngbo as the first African DG of the ILO for after over 100 years of its establishment, assuring him of President Bola Tinubu’s support and cooperation on strategic partnership.

She also commended his achievements, including promoting social justice and fighting inequalities in the world of work. The minister also commended the ILO’s successful implementation of programs in Nigeria, particularly those focused on youth employment, a key priority for the Tinubu’s administration.

 According to her, “We see your handwork on labour relations, and we are proud of you as the first African DG, after 100 years.  We will requiring technical assistance from you, in the departments in our ministry, especially in the areas of digitalisation.

 “Nigeria is the second highest African contributor to the ILO budget (next to South Africa), thus the need to be more involved and strategically placed in the ILO. We therefore specially request that more Nigerian professionals to employed into the ILO to bridge the under-representation of Nigeria in the ILO workforce, both locally and internationally.”

 The minister, therefore informed the DG that Nigeria is vying for re-election into the GB of the ILO as Regular Member for the 2024-2027 Triennium, and covets the support of the ILO.

 Nigeria currently contributes the second-highest amount among African nations to the ILO budget, and Minister Onyejeocha requested increased collaboration and representation.

 This includes “seeking more technical support for the development of youth employment programmes and skills development initiatives.

 Additionally, Nigeria requested the ILO’s assistance in upgrading the ILO office in Abuja to a “decent work office” serving English-speaking West Africa, developing action plans for the implementation of recently ratified ILO Conventions, digitalising and strengthening the country’s labour inspection system and building capacity for Nigerian labour ministry officials.

 The minister reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to partnering the ILO to promote decent work and social justice for all Nigerians.

In his response, the DG extolled Onyejeocha and Nigerians at the ILO, saying they have made good records of themselves. He promised that the ILO would continue to provide support for the country.

He said: “I am happy to see a woman as a labour minister from Nigeria, and a former parliamentarian. Your representatives here in ILO are doing well, and Nigeria as our partner will continue to have our support on labour relations.”

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