International Labour Organisation (ILO), Regional Director for Africa, Mrs. Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, has said that African governments should accelerate actions against child labour in order to achieve Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to eliminate all forms of child labour by 2025.
Speaking on the commemoration of the universal children day, Olonjuwon said there is need for African countries to address informality, extend social protection to all, improve legal enforcement mechanism, increase access to free, basic, quality education and strengthen social dialogue.
She also revealed that the ILO is assidously working on actions to strengthen the capacity of governments in labour inspection and law enforcement, as well as workers’ and employers’ organisations in the fight against child labour in its worst forms.
She hinted that ILO was also supporting more resilient post-pandemic economies with a commitment to ‘build back better’ while adding that massive enlightenment of the populace by the media on the differences between child work and child labour would help curtail the subjecting of children to unsuitable work .
According to the National Bureau of Statistics 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), a re-analysis of the 2011 MICS, revealed that about 43 per cent of Nigerian children, in the ages between five and 10, are working and about half of these working children are estimated to be engaged in child labour.
Indeed, many children work for long hours in dangerous and unhealthy environments and work with small pay, little food, no education and no medical care.
There is still a high prevalence of exploitation in the informal agricultural and mining sectors in spite of Nigeria’s ratification of the ILO’s Child Labour Convention 138 on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, and Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.