Monday, 16 November 2020

Over 50 million Nigeria Children are engaged in Child Labour - ILO

Ukorebi Esien | 16th November 2020 

The International Labour Organisation, ILO, has disclosed that over 50 million Nigerian children are currently engaged in Child Labour, cutting across multiple sectoral industries in the country. 

This was disclosed by the Officer in charge for the Nigerian office of International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. David Dorkenoo during a three day training for Media personnel and journalists which kicked off toady in Abuja on Effective Child Labour reporting and presentation of the National Advocacy Strategy on the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria.

According to Mr. Dorkenoo, 152 Million children engage in Child Labour globally while while in Nigeria there are over 50 million of them engaged in Child Labour across multiple industries and geographical settings. And 73 million are in hazadious work in many parts of Africa. In 2019 alone over 2 million children were said to have worked in the Cocoa sector across Africa. 

The ILO representative informed that the training of journalist to report the negative effect of such staggering figures as it borders on child labour is not only timely but relevant. 
 Mr. David Dorkenoo, Officer in charge for the Nigerian office of International Labour Organisation (ILO)

"The setting up of this training is timely as it is relevant based on the increasing number of children engaged in child labour not only in Africa but in Nigeria despite a reduction in the global participation rate, as this is detrimental to the development of Africa young population." He said. 

Mr. Dorkenoo enumerated the causes of child labour menace to include poverty, ignorance and illiteracy, stating that until concrete measures are put in place to deal with these challenges, the problem of Child Labour will be very difficult to eradicate. 

"The issue of child labour is beyond just legalistic measures and putting in place the social framework aimed at addressing the challenges. There's a pressing need to appeal to the emotions of humanity and persons to own and gain full support of the population. One very powerful tool to reach out to the general population is the media." 

Dorkenoo further averred that media have an important role to play in the fight against child labour. "Your role as individual professionals in media houses is critical to the success of ILO intervention in eliminating child labour in Nigeria. And I have no doubt that this training will equip you in achieving this aim." He concluded 

In his remarks the Minister of Labour and Employement, Dr Chris Ngige informed participants of the Ministry's effort in ending child labour in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 8.7 aimed at taking  immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms. 

Participant and members of the high table ina group photograph. 

Ngige who was represented by a director in the inpsectorate department, Mr. Ajuwon Dauda, noted that his ministry which is overseeing the National Steering Committee on Child Labour has since in 2013 developed the National Policy on Child Labour and The Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour. 

Mr. Dauda revealed that so far 5, 401 and 3937 child labour infractions were reported in 2018 and 2019 respectively out of which 1494, and 1279 victims and their families have been empowered. Furthermore, 287 and 342  making a total of 629 offenders are been procescuted. 

The Minister noted that this was made possible using vehicles such as the Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour, the development of and validation of The  National Reporting Template on Child Labour as well as Training of key stakeholders. 

Cross Session of participants during the Training 

In a chart with newsmen, Mrs. Agatha Kolawole, National Project Coordinator, ACCEL AFRICA Project informed that the training was aimed at establishing a strong link between media personnel and implementing partners where journalists and media practitioners' have a better understanding of main concepts and conventions on child labour. 

Speaking further Mrs. Kolawole said the event will further strengthen the capacity of media practitioners to increase and improve on the quality and quantity of their reports on child labour cases which promotes positive behavioural change as well as increase quantum of information on Child Labour in Nigeria, especially in Ondo, Niger, FCT and/or Lagos state.