Govt launches policy action plan on child labour

Lead poisoning in Nigeria06 September 2014, Sweetcrude, Houston – Federal Government has formally launched the National Policy and National Action Plan on Child Labour to facilitate the elimination of child labour in Nigeria and ensure that Nigerian children are provided with the future they would be proud of.

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, who performed the launch and presentation of the national documents to the Nigerian Public in Abuja, indicated that this followed the approval of the National Policy and National Action Plan on Child Labour by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, in September last year.

He noted that the success of the launching attested to the commitment of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda and the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) to the elimination of the challenge of child labour which has constituted a critical impediment to the nation’s development efforts.

The Labour Minister observed that the National Policy and National Action Plan on Child Labour were the products of a consultative process of stakeholders’ participation, adding that the approval of the national documents by the FEC has set the stage for effective collaboration and implementation of child labour interventions across the country.

“The Policy will help every stakeholder to operate in its area of comparative advantage. It will also facilitate the building of synergy, effective coordination and elimination of duplication of interventions by the various MDAs”, he added.

According to him, “The policy also provides monitoring, evaluation and a review process with which to assess periodically the achievements recorded in our collective efforts at combating the scourge of child labour.”

Acknowledging the support of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, and the United States Department of Labour, USDOL, in funding and technical expertise for the development of the documents, the Minister called for their continued collaboration in the implementation of the Policy.

Chief Wogu underscored that President Jonathan Administration has demonstrated commitment in addressing the socio-economic factors which promote the use of children in all forms of labour exploitation that are injurious to their health, moral development and further deny them the opportunity to attend school or acquire skill in vocation.

He pointed out that the massive employment of youths and women through the Community Services, Women and Youth Empowerment Scheme of the SURE-P has reduced drastically the high level of poverty in the rural communities in Nigeria where child labour thrived most.

“The CSWYE Programme is thus a critical strategy for fighting poverty especially rural poverty which has over the years fuelled child labour and child trafficking in the country,” he added.

The Minister indicated that the interventions of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity which have paid off in checking child labour, especially its worse forms in the country, included capacity development of stakeholders, sensitisation workshops, rallies, research and data generation, as well as other empowerment activities at local, states and national levels.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Clement Illoh, emphasized that the national documents were not just the making of Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity but that “they are our Policy” which “require our efforts and collaboration to implement”.

He added that despite the constraints and misconceptions encountered in the formulation of the Policy, child labour remained both global and national concern that attracted concerted efforts at different levels aimed at eliminating it.

Director of International Labour Organisation, ILO, Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia Sierra Leone and the Gambia and ECOWAS Liaison Office, Ms. Sina Chuma-Mkandawire, assured of the commitment of the ILO to working with relevant stakeholders in ensuring full implementation of the National Policy and its Action Plan.

The ILO Country Director, while calling for allocation of enough resources to implement the Policy, further called on the Nigerian Government to ratify and domesticate ILO’s Domestic Workers’ Convention 2011 (C.189) in order to ensure better protection of victims, mainly children, from labour exploitation.

“The fact that Nigeria has already ratified the ILO Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour 1999 (No. 182) in October 2002 and today we are launching the Policy, Action Plan and Hazardous List, leaves me with no doubt that we have gained the necessary momentum and commitment for the elimination of the worst Forms of Child Labour,” she stated.

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