The Senate has said it would work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to end all forms of child labour in the country.Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said this in Abuja when ILO’s Country Director, Dennis Zulu visited him as part of activities to mark this year’s World Day Against Child Labour.
Saraki commended the United Nations (UN) for its fight against child labour saying: “We all must do more to eliminate forced labour on all Nigerian children.”He said lack of advocacy has limited greater understanding of the issue, which informed him to host a Children’s Day roundtable discussion with states Houses of Assembly on the Child’s Rights Act of 2003 to “raise awareness about our obligation to defend the rights of children.
“As you are aware, some states are yet to domesticate the Act and we made some commitments to them. Hoping that the states that are left will work hard to see that before the next Children’s Day, the Act is domesticated in their states.
“It is important to promote universal basic education, to support the National Child Labour Policy and the National Action Plan the ILO developed with the Federal Government,” he said.
But Zulu, who is also the Country Director of ILO in Nigeria, lamented that Nigeria does not have recent statistics on the prevalence of child labour.
“The last survey from 2003 estimated that more than 15 million children are engaged in economic activities and about 6.1 million classified as child labourers,” he said.He appealed to the Senate President to help in ensuring the passage of a harmonised legislation against child labour in the country.
Zulu also hinted that there are inconsistencies between the minimum age requirements for children to work in Nigeria compared with the National Agency for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Act and the Labour Act.
He also lamented the weak enforcement of legislations on child labour in the country and poor coordination among the government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in dealing with the issues of children.