The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NATIP) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have urged the Nigerian judiciary to step up its fight to eliminate child labour in the country.
They made the plea yesterday in Lagos during a two-day workshop organised by NATIP and ILO to train the judiciary officers and law enforcement agencies from Oyo and Ogun States. Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of ILO, Ms. Sina Chuma-Mkandawire, said it was important for the judiciary to show commitment to fight child labour with the law, "because child labour is a violation of fundamental human right." Mkandawire who was represented by the Technical Adviser of ILO, Mr. Krishna Kukkikaette, also noted that child labour destroys individual economic contribution to development, hinders children mental and physical development and attendance at school, thereby reducing their educational attainment.
Mkandawire, who frowned on the practice of child labour, said it was not healthy for the child and his or her family, and therefore called on government to expedite action to curb the practice.
According to her, "The latest ILO report on child labour estimates that 59 million child labourers are in sub-Sahara Africa or one out of five children are labourers in the region. "Of these 59 million, almost half are thought to be doing hazardous work. The latest report from the USDOL (2012) on hazardous work states that 36.6 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working in Nigeria." The group therefore stated that it was imperative to curb the menace of child labour. Speaking on the intervention of ILO in fighting child labour in the country, she said many institutional frameworks have been developed such as the formation of National Steering Committee, development of a national policy and national action plan on the elimination of child labour in consultation with all concerned which was adopted by the federal executive council.
She further stated that a committee was formed to identify hazardous work, while the mandate of the ILO convention and its report were validated and submitted to the federal government for implementation.
She added that: "With this effort, Nigeria is giving effect to the resolution of the Africa Conference of Ministers of Labour in 2007, which urges countries to have a national action plan in order to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2015, in line with the road map adopted by the second global conference on child labour in Hague, in May 2010 and also in line with outcome of the third global conference in Brasilia in February 2014."
In her remark, the Executive Secretary of NATIP, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy- Agba, who was represented by Joshua Aji, expressed confidence at the end of the training exercise that participants would be well informed on the contemporary ways of fighting child labour through the power of the law.