As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark World Day Against Child Labour, stakeholders in the campaign against child labour have called for collaborative effort of both state and non state actor to eliminate child labour in the country. The World Day Against Child Labour is observed 12 June every year to raise awareness on danger of child labour to national development and the need to exterminate practice.
Speaking before flagging-off the awareness campaign trek in Abuja yesterday, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu said the theme of the campaign; “CHILDREN SHOULDN’T WORK IN FIELDS, BUT ON DREAMS, ”is apt as child labour adversely affect the development of children’s potentials for greatness, as well as impacting negatively on national development.
Dr. Mu’azu disclosed that in order to curb the practice of child labour at mining sites across the country, the Ministry has being carrying out strategic campaigns to sensitize operators, especially the artisanal miners on the adverse effect of child labour.
In particular reference was the Ministry’s effort in a mining community, Gadeko community, Wunye Local Government Area of Niger State, to keep children in the community in school. This include renovation of the community primary school, construction of four units toilet facilities, a borehole at the community school, donation 40 classroom furniture to the school, among others..
He called on the Ministry of Education at both Federal and State levels to take special interest in schools in mining communities in order to curb the menace of child labour.
Dr. Mu’azu hinted that the Ministry has entered into partnership with ILO on the ACCEL African Project which is to accelerate the strategies geared towards the elimination of child labour. The project, he said, focuses on mines and agricultural sectors, which would at the long run, increase the potentials of benefiting communities, improve their children’s education.
He therefore solicited for stronger partnership among the stakeholders in order to eliminate child labour.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. William Alu, in his remarks harped on the need for women and children to be properly educated to facilitate national development.
He said efforts are being made to carry such sensitization programme to all nooks and crannies of the country.
In the same vein, The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, represented by the Director (Food & Strategic Reserve Department), Engineer Haruna, noted that the essence of the general walk was to facilitate in bringing the phenomenon to the front burner of national discourse. This will ensure that the law against child labour is effectively implemented, he said..
According to him, the Ministry has embarked on programmes aimed at tackling child labour such as the school feeding project meant to make children to attend school; empowerment of women and men in the business of agriculture production to help them in the upkeep of children.
He solicited for a holistic sensitization of the fight against child labour for the growth of the nation.
Earlier in his contribution, the Country Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Dennis Zulu, expressed concern over the alarming increase of child labour in the sub-Saharan Africa, and called on stakeholders to be true ambassadors o the fight against the phenomenon. He said there is a need to be concerned about the skills enhancement of the future leaders to ensure continuity in productivity for national development.
He acknowledged stakeholders’ commitment towards eradicating the scourge.