During this two-day event, the The International Labor Organization engages with mass media and urban audiences on the urgent need to intensify awareness of the dangers of child labor and increase social protection coverage to prevent, manage and eradicate the scourge of Nigeria , as recommended by the ‘Durban Call to Action ‘ seek to Accelerate multi-stakeholder efforts for the prevention and elimination of child labor in line with Sustainable Development Goal target 8.7.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has urged the Nigerian media to fulfill their social responsibility to the public by constantly educating the public about international labor standards, fundamental rights at work and the dangers of child labour, while being accountable in an ethical manner taking into account the best interests of child labor victims.
Vanessa Phala, ILO Country Director for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Liaison Office made the call during of the “Engagement of the Media” and the “March for the Nigerian Child”, both at the Commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL), on the theme “Universal social protection to end child labor Children”, in the Conference Hall of the United Nations House, Abuja on Thursday 28th July 2022, and in the central business district of the city of Abuja on Friday 29th July 2022.
According to Director Phala, bringing public attention to the dangers of child labor to society will accelerate actions by stakeholders to address collective security issues, given the link between child labor and insecurity.
“We must realize that if we do not set and support the agenda on the dangers of child labour, stakeholders may delay taking the urgent and active action needed to end it, thus prolonging concerns about the insecurity over long periods”. – Director Phala.
“The presence of arms and ammunition in the resource rush reduces safe spaces, exposes children to violence and fuels a cycle of crime by providing a constant pool of recruits for criminals across generations. “, added director Phala.
Furthermore, the Director called on the Government of Nigeria to increase investments in social protection by improving benefits for children and families, fiscal spaces, legal frameworks and coverage of rural areas with social protection programs for reach the most vulnerable.
Director Phala further called on unions to focus on involving children of legal working age (15-17) in decision-making that affects their services and well-being at work.
A study recently carried out by the ILO in partnership with UNICEF on “The role of social protection in eliminating child labour” reveals that 1.5 billion children in the world, aged 0 to 14 , do not receive any child or family allowance while more than 160 million children – 1 in 10 children aged 5 to 17 – is still engaged in child labor, and progress has stalled since 2016.
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Acting Chief of Social Policy, Temi Esteri Fet’era encouraged the media to broadcast information on child labor and raise awareness of the risks and harms of children. work, while observing the need for regular updates of evidence on children.
“Social protection is not only about human rights and dignity, but it is a smart public investment choice. A country that invests in its people, especially children, also invests in its future and development. – UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins
According to the UNICEF Country Representative, 14 million children in Nigeria were engaged in child labor prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and there are indications that the social and economic impacts of the pandemic have significantly increased the figures.
The ILO ACCEL Africa The project in Nigeria is accelerating action against child labor in cocoa and artisanal gold mining (ASGM) supply chains in Ondo, Niger and Osun states, in particular where child labor is prevalent in production and supply chains.
Representing the Federal Government of Nigeria, Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor and Employment, highlighted the government’s social protection efforts such as – diversification into agriculture, social investment programs, review of existing legal frameworks to combat child labour, including the ratification of ILO Conventions No. 138 on the minimum age for admission to work and Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of labour.
In addition, the Minister acknowledged the financial and technical support provided by the ILO for the conduct of the child labor/forced labor survey and the review of the national policy and national action plan on child labour. elimination of child labor and forced labor. (2021 – 2025).
Dr. Ngige further urged the media to ensure improvements in the coverage of issues related to child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery in order to support the effective elimination of the vices of Nigeria by 2025, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals target. 8.7.
Speaking via zoom, the representative of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Nike Ajala, stressed the importance of institutionalized and effective social protection programs to ensure that children are allowed to realize their full potential.
According to Nike, the development and launch of a code of conduct to guide business practices in the organized private sector; development of a guidance tool for companies, research and capacity building of child labor focal points in member companies; capacity building and formalization of associations in the cocoa and mining sectors to ensure the institutionalization of fair labor practices and decent work in accordance with applicable labor laws and ILO conventions; and advocating for increased allocation of corporate social responsibility resources to child labor elimination initiatives, are part of the association’s social protection efforts.
On Friday, July 29, 2022, members of Nigeria’s National Steering Committee for the Elimination of Child Labor (NSCCL) led a procession of child advocates on a Federal Secretariat ‘March for the Nigerian Child’, in through the busy central business district to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Participants in the march include: ILO Country Director Vanessa Phala, FML&E Permanent Secretary Daju Kachollom (Ms. Alliance), FML&E Acting Director of Inspection Department Dauda Ajuwon, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Mining and Steel Development, Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development, National Bureau of Statistics, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Child Protection Network, Trades Union Congress, Labor Congress of Nigeria, NECA, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Human Rights Commission, ILO staff, UNIDO, Child and Youth Welfare Foundation and other members of the National Steering Committee for the elimination of child labour.
As part of the ACCEL Africa project funded by the Dutch government in Nigeria, the ILO has partnered with the Government of Nigeria and other social partners to:; adapt the recently validated Social Protection Policy; extending social protection to the informal economy; support for child victims of labor with health and education services (such as school registration or re-registration, schoolbags, school sandals, notebooks, textbooks, sandals), and a psychosocial support for people unfairly exposed to child labor and traumatized.
In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment and the Foundation for Child and Youth Welfare, the ILO supported the compilation and simplification of existing national laws and policies on child labor and child protection, in addition to interventions reaching over 1,409 children with various preventive, protective, and removal services.
The project has also trained and certified 62 teachers, caregivers and other professionals to support children’s rights through education, the arts and the media – using the ILO’s SCREAM module and working with a team of intellectuals from the University of Ibadan to develop a curriculum. on the elimination of child labour.
To maintain an enabling environment for the elimination of child labour, the ACCEL Africa project facilitated the development and validation of Nigeria’s National Policy and National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labor and Labor forced in April 2021, with the support of the Minister of Labour. and Employment in collaboration with the Minister of Women’s Affairs and members of the National Steering Committee on the Elimination of Child Labor in Nigeria. In addition, six states (Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Niger and Lagos) were supported to adapt the National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labor to the child labor contexts in their states.
In addition to interventions reaching more than 1,409 children with various prevention, protection and weaning services, the ACCEL Africa project plans to distribute starter packs to more than 800 male and female entrepreneurs in project communities trained and mentored on the ILO’s Start Your Business (SYB) project. Module, to help them realize their business ideas, grow and impact their communities.