Nigeria has begun the process of validating the National Policy on Child/Forced Labour, and the National Action Plan NAP on the Elimination of Child/Forced Labour in Nigeria 2021 – 2025.
This move according to the government, had demonstrated the political will to ensure the achievement of Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, and “has shown enough readiness to address the challenges of the vulnerable groups, including eradicating Child Labour”.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Tarfa, at a programme to Flag off the process of validation in Abuja, noted that as a Pathfinder country with commitment to take accelerated actions on combating Child Labour, Nigeria’s commitment has translated into several actions including the recent Action Pledge made during the global Launch of 2021 International Year for Elimination of Child Labour IYECL, as well as the formal launch of IYECL billed to hold on Thursday 15th April, 2021.
He urged those charged with the responsibilities of translating those commitments into action, not to fail.
The first National Policy on Child Labour and the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria was developed in 2013 with a five-year implementation period 2013 – 2017.
“The thrust of the policy was to provide legally binding guidelines for actors implementing national programmes on Child Labour towards eradicating Child Labour, especially its worst forms by 2015 and thereafter by 2025 in alignment with the timelines and targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the succeeding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target 8.7 respectively”, the Permanent Secretary said.
He stated that the National Policy and Action Plan provided for the establishment of Steering Committees on Child Labour at national and sub-national levels.
According to him “membership of these Committees at all levels was constituted from the tripartite constituents of Government, Organised Labour and Employers’ Associations, as well as the civil society organisations, faith and community-based associations”.
Tarfa explained that the new NAP (2021 – 2025) would bridge the gaps in implementation, which an Evaluation Report of the previous NAP had identified, and work to create more impact.
Having identified the gaps in the implementation process of the expired NAP, the government said it has set its mind to developing a robust new NAP that will align with Regional Plans and take into consideration emerging trends on Child Labour eradication.
He urged participants at the workshop as they take a final look at the reviewed Policy and Action Plans, “to ensure that the Plan of Action contains not only time-bound activities that have direct bearing with Child Labour, but also monitoring and evaluation mechanism that will ensure monthly or quarterly assessment of progress made against the Plan”.
In a message, Country Director of International Labour Organisation ILO, Abuja Office, Ms Vanessa Phala, stated that an effective implementation of the policy and its action plan would greatly reduce the rate of child labour in Nigeria.
Phala reiterated ILO’s commitment “to continue to support constituents and other relevant partners in ensuring the sustainable achievement of the elimination of child labour by 2025”.
Target 8.7 of the SDGs is the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its form.
Present at the occasion were representatives of Federal Ministries of Mines and Steel Development, Agriculture and Rural Development, the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, and Trade Union Congress TUC.