The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday launched Nigeria’s initiative to end the worst form of child labour, slave labour and human trafficking in the country adding that there were clear indications that modern slavery was still prevalent in Nigeria.
The Vice President disclosed that available figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that about 25 percent of the 80 million Nigerian children under 14 years (about 20 million) are engaged in form of economic activity or the other.
The Vice President who was represented by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Prof. Stephen Ocheni spoke at the national consultation and launch of the Alliance 8.7 in Nigeria said consultation and launch was aimed at prioritizing the areas of focus as a nation, develop projects and programs for immediate implementation towards the achievement of Alliance 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Vice President also disclosed that according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, about 43 percent of Nigerian children under the age of 17 are engaged in one form of economic activity or the other, an indication that modern slavery is still prevalent in Nigeria.
Statistics from the ILO indicate that about 152 million children are engaged in child labour across the world, while 40 million persons are in modern slavery with another 25 million and 15 million engaged in forced labour and forced marriage respectively.
Nigeria adopted the protocol on ending modern slavery and child labour at the world conference on child labour held in Argentina in 2018, while also seeking to be a pathfinder country in the fight to end child labour in the country.
The Alliance 8.7 also known as Target 8.7 is an aspect of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which seek to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination f the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025, end child labour in all its forms.
Osinbajo said “the Federal Government of Nigeria joined other countries of the United Nations to adopt the global Sustained Development Agenda in September, 2015.
“In 2016, following this adoption, leaders from around the world launched Alliance 8.7, a global partnership committed to take immediate and effective measures to accelerate action towards the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms everywhere.
“This call to action presents a unique opportunity to bring about a world free of forced labour, modem slavery, human trafficking and child labour in all ramifications.
“Target 8.7 is ambitious. No government, country or organization can solve this challenge alone and eradication efforts can only be accelerated through concrete commitments and coherent and coordinated action at the national, regional and global levels.
“Alliance 8.7 is therefore a platform created to help achieve the ambitious undertaking of Target 8.7 and coordinate with those working on the many interrelated Sustainable Development Goals. As a country, we are very proud of this opportunity to demonstrate our unreserved determination to combating child labour, forced labour and other impediments on the growth and development of the child.”
He said further that the “ILO estimates the global figure of child labourers to be 168 million with Nigeria accounting for about 15 million; 21 million is estimated to engage in forced labour including 5.5 million children globally.
“According to ILO, about 25 per cent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of 14 are engaged in economic activities and about half of this population is children exploited as child labourers and those working in hazardous situation such as, victims of child trafficking, domestic work, sex Work, drug peddling and hawking.”
The Vice President stressed that issues of child labour is driven by poverty, rural-urban migration, cultural and religious practices, large family size, illiteracy, ignorance of the effect of child labour, unemployment, inadequate and poor quality of apprenticeship schemes, impact of HIV/AIDS and Internal Displacement with the increased orphans and vulnerable children it generates.
According to him, Child labour, forced labour and human trafficking issues in the country have been receiving attention from the government of Nigeria, adding however those but more concerted efforts/actions are still required.
According to him, Child labour, forced labour and human trafficking issues in the country have been receiving attention from the government of Nigeria, adding however that but more concerted efforts/actions are still required.
He disclosed that In addition to the existing National Laws and ratification/adoption of international Conventions and Protocols, in 2012, the Federal Executive Council approved the National Policy on Child Labour National Action Plan (NAP) for the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria and a comprehensive List of Hazardous Child Labour.