ILO wants Nigeria to expedite ratification of int’l instruments, conventions
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) through the FAIRWAY programme has urged the Nigerian government and other relevant stakeholders in the country to swiftly ratify the international instruments and convention for the country to derive benefits attached to it.
This is as the organisation has launched a media toolkit towards improving the condition of labour migration from Africa to the Arab States and reducing abusive practices that impede human rights as well as fill the communication gap among comity of nations.
Speaking at a two-day national training for media and civil society organisations (CSOs) on Media Toolkit for Reporting Forced Labour and Fair Recruitment in Nigeria, held in Lagos, Emeka Xris Obiezu, the international migration policy and governance expert, said Nigeria was yet to sign some international instruments and conventions, including the 1975 migrant workers; supplementary provision convention; 1997 private employment agency; and 2011 domestic workers convention.
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He explained that ratifying the conventions would bring progress to the country while problems of discrimination and maltreatment of citizens would be addressed. He Obiezu called on media practitioners to strategise their reportage of forced labour and migration issues and ensure that the information gets to the grassroots.
He noted that ILO’s Media Toolkit was contextualised for use in Nigeria just as he informed that the training was facilitated by ILO within the framework of the FAIRWAY programme and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
According to him, in 2020, ILO launched the global Media Toolkit aimed at contributing to quality reportage by journalists in the area of forced labour and recruitment processes.
The toolkit provides concrete tips for improving media production, story ideas and strengthening networks of specialised journalists with a number of countries already adapting the toolkit to their respective national contexts.
“In Nigeria, the process of adapting the toolkit to the national context commenced in 2020 towards increased awareness and sensitisation purposes,” he added.
Similarly, Tunde Salman, a consultant, who leads the national adoption of the ILO Global Media Toolkit in Nigeria, stated that the role of media cannot be overemphasised. Salman noted that the knowledge journalists need in information gathering and adequate reportage of labour issues has been provided in the toolkit.
While urging journalists to verify, learn technical terminologies, conceptualise and report in a balanced and fair manner, he also emphasised the need for media personnel to intensify effort at giving required attention to reporting issues around human rights and recruitment.
He identified poverty, illiteracy, discrimination, unemployment and other factors as responsible for forced labour, thereby compelling people to migrate from one location to another in search of better offer.
He added that each country has its peculiar quality and challenges and with effective communication, people get to understand one another, work together and grow the economy together.
Charles Autheman, human rights advocate, who joined the training via zoom, explained that it was pertinent for media practitioners and CSOs to understand the law guiding and protecting each country.
He said ways of communicating issues around migration should be in line with reality, and journalists must have a clear understanding of the challenges, investigate how they can address the problems, report accurately and follow up.
Autheman pointed out that the toolkit would avail journalists the necessary steps and guidelines in sourcing information about migrants, knowing the different between legal and illegal migration, how the migrants must be protected, ability to guide general public on their rights and change the narrative to ensure conducive environment for all and economic development across the globe.
Earlier, Austin Erameh, national rights coordinator, who represented Vanessa Phala, director, ILO office Abuja, posited that the training was meant to acquaint media personnel and CSOs with necessary tools and skills to identify areas of strength and contribute more effectively in promoting rights of migrant-workers through storytelling, especially amid the context of COVID-19, and further facilitate learning between the media and stakeholders for better advocacy in the areas of labour migration in Nigeria.
He added that the training would strengthen the capacity of media and CSOs in Nigeria to better understand, engage, and report objectively on issues concerning labour migration and forced labour, using ILO’s media toolkit.