• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Join forces against child labour – FG urges Nigerians

Join forces against child labour – FG urges Nigerians

The Federal Government has called on Nigerians to take the fight against child labour and forced labour in the country as a collective responsibility for the citizenry.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, minister of state for labour and employment, made the call at the third edition of the National Children Conference to mark the elimination of child labour on Thursday in Abuja.

The conference was also organised in commemoration of the 2024 World Day Against Child with the theme, “Let’s act on our commitments to end child labour”.

According to Onyejeocha, we all are aware, that the current global statistics show that 160 million children, nearly one in 10 worldwide are engaged in child labour.

Read also: Eliminating child labour in Nigeria: Difficult but possible task

“About 25 million adults and children are in forced labour, including in global supply chains.

“It is a global menace that has proven to potentially hinder the development of children, leading to lifelong physical and psychological damage.

“Also keeping the children out of school, thereby perpetuating poverty across generations.

“I humbly encourage everyone to take ownership in the fight against child labour and forced labour, and ensure the protection of the rights of citizens,” the minister said.

She said to address the challenges of child labour, Nigeria had made giant strides in the ratification of the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions 138 on the minimum age for work, 182 on the worst forms of child labour, among others.

She also added that there was an ongoing review of the labour standard bill to mainstream child labour, with special consideration on the adoption of 15 years as the minimum age for work/employment.

“I am here today to assure you that the situation of Child Labour will not continue.

“I promise to use my good office to reach out to all those in authority to ensure that all Nigerian children will go to school and remain in school,” she said.

Vanessa Phala, ILO country director to Nigeria, called on children to be part of the advocacy against child labour.

Phala, represented by Dr Agatha Kolawole, ILO Project Coordinator on Child Labour, also called for the passage of the Labour Standard Bill as its passage would eliminate the issue of child labour in the country.

Read also: LWR launches war against child labour in cocoa value chain

Olaitan Olaolu, director of inspectorate department, ministry of labour and employment, said the conference was apt towards the elimination of child labour in the country.

Also speaking, Judith Tietie, head, Abuja corporate office of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), said they will continue to educate employers on the importance of not employing children in the working environment.

“We as employers have recognised our responsibilities to create an environment where every child will drive and grow to their full potential.

“We have also realised that making children work when they are young weakens the labour force of the economy that is why the issue of child labour must be eradicated,” she said.

Some of the children who spoke to NAN called on the Federal Government to do everything possible to eliminate the menace.

Esther Bassey, the FCT Children Parliament’s national representative, called on the the government to take decisive action to end child labour in the country.