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Nigeria moves to eliminate child labour in four years 

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige PHOTO:Twitter


• Child labour yet to abate in sub-Sahara Africa, says ILO

Specific actions aimed at eliminating child labour would be identified, implemented and sustained between 2021 and 2025 under the auspices of the National Policy and National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour.   Speaking at the launch of the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour (IYECL) as part of global action to accelerate the fight against the practice, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said the event marks the formal take-off of the Action Pledges made by Nigeria at the global launch on the 21st January 2021.   The UN General Assembly had, in July 2019, declared 2021 as the ‘International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour’ and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was mandated to take the lead in implementing it.  The declaration was a call for an accelerated pace of progress at all levels in the global fight against child labour, through practical and innovative actions, and awareness creation programmes at global, regional and national levels.   

Ngige further stated that at the African Regional Launch of IYECL held on 31st March 2021, Nigeria also demonstrated her readiness to shift from commitment to action in achieving the African Union (AU) agenda.   He disclosed that the Action Pledges, presented by Nigeria at the international launch of IYECL, prioritized, “key activities towards the achievement of Target 8.7 of the SDG, which seeks to end child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2025.”   He explained that the pledges included the validation of the second cycle of the national policy on the elimination of child labour and its national action plan before the end of February.    Other pledges included the development of a Child Labour/Forced Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in Supply Chains, which was started in 2020 and would extend to the end of 2021. 

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Another pledge was the Rapid Result Cash Register (RRCR) launched on 19 January 2021 for four million persons of urban poor and vulnerable people.   The Minister observed that though considerable milestones had been achieved in combating child labour and all forms of Modern Slavery in Nigeria, progress had been rather slow and unequal nationwide.   He, therefore, enjoined all stakeholders and members of the Steering Committee to join forces in executing the Action Pledges by translating the commitments to concrete actions to achieve Target 8.7 of the SDG.   However, as good as the progress made by Nigeria seems, available data indicates that sub-Sahara African countries are not doing enough to halt the practice.    Indeed, the Global Child labour report 2017 indicated that statistics on child labour reduced globally but the reduction is in contrast to the situation in Africa as Sub-Saharan Africa experienced an increase.    The ILOstressed the importance of Nigeria in the fight against child labour.    

The Director, ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Vanessa Phala observed that data from Nigeria have a great influence on the region given its position as Africa’s most populous nation, saying the region can no longer carry on as usual to achieve SDG 8.7 and address decent work deficit.    She added: “I believe that the impact of the actions to accelerate child labour elimination, especially the validation of the National Action Plan, will help to fast track progress towards achieving the SDG target to eliminate child labour by 2025.

Furthermore, it will create momentum that will drive positive change through to 2025.”   The event also witnessed the official presentation of the validated National Policy and National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour, by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Tarfa.

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