Paschal Emeka, Abuja
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Nana Fatima Mede, has called for a more concerted effort and intensive awareness on child labour and human trafficking in Nigeria.
She also called on privilege Nigerians to support such course and help give a more dignified life to children faced by the scourge of child labour in order not to mortgage the future of the country.
Mede made the call during a courtesy visit by members of the National Steering Committee on Child Labour (NSCCL) to the Minister, Budget and National Planning in Abuja recently.
Mrs. Mede, who represented the Minister, while commending the Committee for coming up with a policy, noted that it was unfortunate that a lot of children were already victims of child labour.
She said “We have a policy that takes consideration of various issues raised on child labour. This existing policy is the starting point, our population is growing. We need to create more awareness on child labour and human trafficking in Nigeria”
She went further to reiterate that with over 65% of Nigerians still living below poverty line and over 67% of children still dying before the age of five, there is prevalence of hunger in the country which still forces children into child labour.
The Permanent Secretary however, assured the Committee of the Ministry’s support and commitment in coordinating the policies of the NSCCL and through the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), will also help in the conduct of nationwide mapping of child labour endemic areas and design suitable intervention programmes.
She further stressed the need for the Committee to come up with measurable action plans while also doing a lot to create awareness on the need to stem the tide of child labour in the country. She advised that a platform for donations towards an intervention programme be introduced in the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director (Inspectorate), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Solomon A. Ajibola, said the Committee was in the Ministry to mobilize one of its key actors and line Ministry into action in order to help eradicate the practice of child labour in Nigeria.
While highlighting some of the vital issues on child labour, Mr. Ajibola said that the problem of child labour is multidimensional which requires a combined and integrated approach.
He further stated that it is a socio economic challenge affecting not only Nigeria but the African region and the entire world. According to him, there is urgent need for an effective synergy under the platform already provided by the NSCCL in line with international labour standards.
“It is therefore expected that there should be effective synergy in the critical areas of prevention and treatment of child labour victims among the line Ministries, Labour Unions, Employers’ Associations and network of Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Development Partners including International Labour Organisation (ILO), United States Department of Labour (USDOL) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)” he said