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.