President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and the International Labour Organisation have called for more collaboration and partnerships to tackle 15 million children from child labour in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, child labour has become a scourge. Several children find themselves on the streets, forced to make a living, with others employed in industrial complexes and hazardous environments,” said labour minister Chris Ngige.
“Statistics revealed there are about 15 million child workers as of 2020, according to the ILO, with the UN warning that the absence of mitigating strategies could see an increase of children engaged in child labour by the end of 2022.”
Mr Ngige said this at the National Children Conference commemorating the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL), with the theme ‘Universal Social Protection to end Child Labour’ on Tuesday.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has seen 19.6 per cent of all African children in child labour and a possible nine per cent in hazardous work. This is in contrast to continued progress being made elsewhere in the world,” added the labour minister. He mentioned that the labour ministry spearheaded the implementation and enforcement of the National Action Plan on Child Labour, Prohibition and Elimination of Forced Labour, Modern Slavery, and Human Trafficking in workplaces.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 brought with it a chain reaction that caused devastating effects on the long-term development and safety of children worldwide. As a result, families were plunged into poverty and vulnerable conditions, among others,” the minister further explained. “Also, the households needing to employ various means for survival; this meant children were forced to go into the streets to bring income, exposing them to higher levels of vulnerability compared to adults.”
Mr Ngige stressed that Mr Buhari’s regime had done a lot in addressing some challenges fuelling child labour in Nigeria, including “tackling poverty through Social Investment programmes such as Conditional Cash-transfer, Tradermoni, N-power, Home Grown School Feeding.”