World Day Against Child Labour: FG calls for more proactive measures

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The Federal Government has called for more protective measures for the elimination of child labour in the country.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, made the call during the celebration of 2016 World Day Against Child Labour with the theme “End Child Labour in Supply Chains: It’s everyone’s business”.
Ngige said: “Child Labour is a fundamental multi-dimensional development concern. It cuts across economic, social, religious, cultural and regional divides.
“In the process, human dignity and human rights are compromised. Realistically, children in Nigeria have not been effectively shielded from this menace.
“This is attributable to several factors such as poverty, ignorance, unemployment, absence of social security support for the vulnerable, misinterpretation of culture and religious beliefs and failure of societal institutions to perform their roles and obligation.
“Child labour being multifaceted, requires a combined and integrated approach so as to mobilise all key actors to action, if the practice is to be reduced in the short term and finally eliminated.”
The minister said that government at all levels had put in place a platform for tackling the menace of child labour in Nigeria through various policy documents and programatic activities.
He said these policy documents included the ratification of the ILO Convention No. 138, on Minimum Age for employment, ratification of the ILO Convention No. 182 on Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
He listed others as Policy on Child Labour, National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria and List of Hazardous Child Labour in Nigeria.
Ngige said these policy documents and activities provided the guide for interventions not only for the building of synergy among the stakeholders but as a means to identify their specific roles.
“Government, in recognition of the fact that the persistence of child labour is rooted in poverty, lack of decent work, social protection among others, has put in place six policies for the vulnerable.
“These include security, good governance, corruption, infrastructure rehabilitation, restructuring the economy. employment generation and establishment of social safety nets for the vulnerable.”
He, however, expressed Federal Government’s commitment towards the promotion of internationally recognised Child Labour Rights, Conventions and Protocols adopted, among others.
Mrs Maureen Onyia-Ekwuazi, Head, Occupational Health and Safety, Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), noted that child labour is a universal issue that cuts across board.
“We know that in doing businesses, in manufacturing, in distribution, children are being used to replace those who carry out these activities.
“Even in illicit drugs, children are being used to distribute the drugs to places they want it to get to, because they feel that the police will not suspect the children.
“That means instead of using adults, children have replaced adults in the so-called market and they are being paid little for jobs they are not supposed to do.”
Onyia-Ekwuazi noted that government and other stakeholders had developed policies that would eliminate child labour in the country.
She further called on well-meaning Nigerians to assist in the fight against child labour, adding that it is everybody’s business to monitor and report issues of child labour.
Also speaking, Mr Hassan Aka, an. Assistant Secretary-General, Trade Union Congress (TUC), pledged the union’s support in the elimination of child labour in the country.
“We will support both physically and financially the cause of the elimination of child labour in the country.
“We are part of the National Steering Committee on Child Labour and we will do everything possible to ensure that this becomes a thing of the past,” he added. (NAN)

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