The Ministry of Labour and Employment, has outlined a number of measures it has been taking to reduce and eliminate child labour practices in Nigeria, ahead of the United Nation’s 2025 target.
To this end, the Ministry said it is poised at changing the narrative with regards to poverty and other child labour influencing factors, part of which has seen Government’s interventons and commitment through programmes like the conditional cash transfer to poor and vulnerable Nigerians, job creation efforts especially through enterprise creation and MSMEs development support, including home grown school feeding programmes.
Permament Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Tarfa, gave these account at a One-day Workshop on Reportage on Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria at the weekend.
According to him, these deliberate policies and programmes, have had direct or indirect impact on livelihood improvement and by extension, child labour in the country.
He said the media as indispensable stakeholders in government owe it a responsibility to churn out professional reportage which should aim at informing the public about these programmes with respect to their impact on child labour practices.
At the global scale, Tarfa explained that child labour and other forms of modern day slavery are issues of grave concern to countries and individuals on account of their catastrophic consequences to human lives and societies.
He noted that available global statistics on child labour, provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and International Labour Organization (ILO), shows that child labour participation globally has increased in the last few years and that the number could rise by millions more as a result of Covid — 19.
Re-echoing the challenges posed by this social abnormally, Tarfa noted that the report by the UN agencies found that 8.4 million children were pushed into child labour over the last four years and that nine million more are at risk of a similar path by the end of 2022 as a result of Covid-19.
He lamented that the report is sobering, more especially as governments and international organizations had before now, met significant milestones in progress, towards eradicating child labour.
“Between 2000 and 2016, according to ILO figures, the number of children in child labour, fell by 94 million. However, between 2016 and today, that number has started to rise again. An ILO simulation model showed the number of children at risk could rise significantly to about 46 million globally if critical action is not taken.
“I would like to emphasize that the role of journalists and media Practitioners in the ongoing campaign to eliminate and prevent child labour is pivotal to the success of all strategies and policies for the elimination of child labour in Nigeria.
“Nevertheless, we must not be unmindful of the fact that our current national socio ~ political and economic situation, coupled with the impact of Covid – 19 are predisposing factors for increased child labour participaton in our country.
“Therefore, I call on all Journalists and media practitioners, whose responsibility is to educate critical stakeholders and the general pubic on the negative impacts of Child labour, and enlighten the public on the safety nets, as well as the school programmes designed by Government as preventative measures against child labour, to join forces wth Government to change the narrative and dent rising child labour participation rates. Our children are the future of this great country.
“It is my expectation therefore, that the knowledge you would gain from this workshop will further equip you in the advocacy against Child Labour, and the campaign to eliminate it. We assure you of our support in this collaboration and hope that our partnership will help Nigeria to meet the UN 2025 target of eliminating global child labour practice,”he noted while declaring the workshop opened.