ILO to partner with Nigerian with senate in elimination of child labour

ILO CO-Abuja Director, Mr. Dennis Zulu, meets with the Nigerian Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, as part of the activities held to mark the 2017 World Day Against Child Labour in Nigeria to discuss tackling Child Labour in Nigeria.

Press release | Abuja | 12 June 2017
ABUJA (ILO News) –The Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Abuja Country Office, Dennis Zulu, met with the Nigerian Senate President to discuss the issues of Child Labour in the country. Amongst the issues discussed was the passage of a harmonised legislation against Child Labour in Nigeria and helping facilitate a programme to coordinate and ease Child Labour issues in Nigeria as it is done in other African countries. During the visit, the Senate President, His Excellency, (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki declared the commitment of the 8th Senate to work with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to eliminate all forms of Child Labour in Nigeria.

Mr. Zulu informed the Senate President about the inconsistencies between the minimum age requirements for children to work in Nigeria which poses a major challenge in the fight against Child Labour. For instance, the minimum age in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Prohibition and Law Enforcement Act differs which from that in the Labour Act. He further listed weak enforcement of legislations on child labour in the country, poor coordination among the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Government dealing with issues of children and poor implementation of the Child Labour Policy and its Action Plan due to lack of budgetary allocation as additional challenges in the fight against child labour amongst others. Furthermore, he proposed possible avenues and interventions which the Senate can use to address some of these challenges and improve effectiveness and efficiency in tackling Child Labour in Nigeria.

“I have a strong record in support of the Child Rights Act, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) and elimination of Child Labour” said the Senate President in response, adding that: “The Senate intends to work closely with ILO as a partner to combat Child Labour. By the next World Day Against Child Labour, we should see more progress in this area.”

The Senate President, while commending the ILO and acknowledging the work being done in the fight against Child Labour, said: “We all must do more to eliminate the use of children in exploitative labour.” He stated that it is important to promote Universal Basic Education in support of the National Child Labour Policy and the National Action Plan, developed by the Federal Government with technical and financial inputs from ILO. He also added that although some states are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA), the Senate has engaged with senators from such states to identify strategies of domesticating the CRA, taking into consideration the peculiarities in their cultural, traditional and religious beliefs. He hoped that these remaining states will work hard to see that before the next Children’s Day (May 27, 2018), the Act is domesticated in their states.

He concluded by assuring the Director that, when the Labour Bill is returned to the National Assembly by the Executive, it would be given speedy passage by the National Assembly.

Background Information

The world day against child labour is an annual event observed every 12th of June since 2002 to create awareness on the dangers and consequences of child labour on the development of the child. Globally over 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by conflict, violence and fragility. At the same time, around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year. A third of them are children. A significant proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. The World Day Against Child Labour this year focused on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.