Sequel to the high incidence of child labour in the mining and agricultural sector, the International Labour Organization has set up a framework to eliminate child labour in Nigeria, Mali, Malawi, Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, and Uganda.
This was part of the Acceleration of Action in the Elimination of Child Labour In Supply Chains In Africa project which covers the six African countries.
Speaking at a two-day workshop on ACCEL Africa financed by Netherlands, in Abuja on Friday, ILO Country Director, Dennis Zulu, said that while Nigeria had ratified and domesticated several United Nations and ILO Conventions, statistics indicate that about 43 per cent of Nigerian children aged between five to 10 years were involved in child labour.
According to him, the children were involved in the worst form of child labour, adding that this was not covered by any of Nigeria’s legislations and policies addressing forced labour, child labour, and human trafficking.
Zulu stated, “Developed in 2003, the UN Convention on Worst Form of Child Labour – which involves works in quarry, granite and mining extraction, international sexual exploitation, and armed conflict, is not captured in any of Nigeria’s legislations and policies addressing forced labour, child labour, and human trafficking.
“We are optimistic that our effective and efficient approach of the project result will contribute to the reduction of child exploitation in the artisanal mines and global supply chain.”
The National Coordinator, ACCEL Africa, Mrs. Agatha Kolawole, said no community in Nigeria was free of child labour, adding that the ILO was engaging with state governments to combat the issue.
She explained that the ACCEL project which commenced last November would run for four years.
ILO Chief Technical Adviser on the project, Mr. Minoru Agasawara, explained that inputs from the seminar would aid in the development of practical national workplans and the design of project implementation for ACCEL to address issue of child labour.
Identifying the informal private sector as the major engagers of child workers with 75 per cent of child labour workforce, the representative of the Director-General of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Mr. Timothy Alawale, said there was a need to intensify efforts to ensure that national legislation and international conventions with regards to the elimination of child labour were enforced.