Produce Responsibly, ILO Urges Businesses in Nigeria as NECA Launches Child Labour Guidance Tool

ILO and NECA Launch Child Labour Guidance Tool for Businesses in Nigeria

The newly launched Child Labour Guidance Tool for Businesses in Nigeria is an addition to concerted efforts by the ILO, tripartite and social partners through the Dutch Government funded ACCEL Africa Project, to improve and enforce legal structures, while providing innovative and evidence based solutions to address the root causes of child labour in supply chains.

News | 03 November 2022
Director of Learning and Development, NECA, Celine Oni; National Project Coordinator, ACCEL Africa (Nigeria), Agatha Kolawole; Director General of NECA, Adewale Oyerinde; First Vice President of NECA, Kunle Oyelana; ILO Country Director, Vanessa Phala; Senior Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Wilson Onyemualise; and the Director, FML&E Inspectorate Dept., Olaitan Olaolu at the unveiling of the Child Labour Guidance Tool for Businesses in Nigeria
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) have unveiled a Child Labour Guidance Tool for Businesses in Nigeria, under the framework of the Dutch Government funded ACCEL Africa Project, to support the elimination of all forms of child labour and forced labour from commercial activities in the country.

Speaking at the hybrid event on 28 October 2022 at the NECA House in Ikeja, Lagos State, the ILO Country Director for Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, and Liaison Office for ECOWAS - Vanessa Phala, urged employers of labour in Nigeria to fully apply the contents of the document and exclude children below the legal working age from recruitments to significantly reduce child labour.

According to Director Phala, children within the legal working age in Nigeria deserve to be protected, assigned tasks appropriate for their age and allowed guarded association, unionization and participation in negotiations regarding their interests and wellbeing without consequence.

"The duration of work and conditions under which the job is being done should align with international labour standards and should be in the best interest of the child". ILO Country Director, Vanessa Phala.

Speaking further, Director Phala reminded employers of the need to include labour issues in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, reduce the vulnerability of children to child labour and contribute to the complete exclusion of children from any work that could harm their physical, mental, and moral development or keep them away from school.

Currently, Nigeria's Labour Act (1990) recognizes the minimum age for employment as 16, with a proposal in the Labour Standard Bill under review, recommending age 15 as a new benchmark.

Speaking at the commencement of the event, the NECA President, Taiwo Adeniyi described the document as a practical tool that will provide huge insights on the steps to be taken by companies to address Child Labour impacts within organizations and in their global supply chains.

In addition, The NECA President assured that as the voice of businesses in Nigeria, the association will consistently engage stakeholders in supply chains on adverse hiring practices and the benefits of conducting responsible businesses free of child labour.

Adeniyi, represented at the event by the NECA First Vice President, Kunle Oyelana, further expressed optimism that interventions by the ILO, tripartite partners and other stakeholders on the elimination of child labour through the ACCEL Africa Project will contribute to the achievement of SDG 8.7, while urging Chief Executives to join the global partnership and help fund the elimination of child labour and forced labour to ensure social protection for children.

Also at the event, the Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige commended the government of the Netherlands and the ILO for efforts through the ACCEL Africa Project in the elimination of child labour from Nigeria.

In a goodwill messaged delivered through the Director of the Inspectorate Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FML&E), Olaitan Olaolu, Dr. Ngige further urged companies to meet the baseline of the corporate Social responsibility to respect children’s rights to be free from Child Labour as established by the ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment and Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of Child Labour.

With the direct support of NECA, the ILO’s ACCEL Africa Project has organized a series of interventions including: conducting studies, developing guides and capacity building of child labour focal persons in NECA member companies; formalization of associations in the cocoa and mining sectors to ensure the institutionalization of fair labour practices and decent work; and advocacy for increased allocation of corporate social responsibility resources towards anti-child labour initiatives.

The Child Labour Guidance Tool for Businesses in Nigeria highlights the causes of child labour in the country, the consequences and required actions for the prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of victims.

In addition to concerted efforts aimed at improving Nigeria's policy, legal and institutional frameworks to end child labour, the release of a report on a National Child Labour and Forced Labour Survey conducted by the ILO is expected soon.