The International Labour Organisation and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association have agreed to collaborate to accelerate progress on the elimination of child labour in Nigeria.
They said they were starting with the Cocoa and Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining supply chains in the country through the Accelerating action for the elimination of child labour in supply chains in Africa project.
The ACCEL Africa project is a 4-year project funded by the Dutch Government; however, its implementation in Nigeria is from May 2019 to October 2022.
Applauding the commitment of NECA to fight the scourge of child labour, Director of ILO Country Officer for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Dennis Zulu, commended NECA for providing a platform to amplify the elimination of child labour in global supply chains.
He noted that employers’ organisations such as NECA played a critical role in the fight for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.
He said it did this by engaging in tripartite discussions on the issue of child labour, providing inputs into legislation and encouraging the implementation of ILO child labour conventions’ principles at national, state and enterprise level.
He added that employers’ organisation had been encouraging their members to stop employing child labour and to be more aware of and discourage adverse hiring practices of their suppliers that took advantage of child labour.
Zulu further urged NECA to continue to participate in projects with development partners to withdraw child labourers from fields and prevent child labour.
‘’We are hopeful that through the ACCEL Africa Project we can continue to strengthen NECA’s involvement in all tiers of child labour elimination, as well as NECA’s capacity to effectively eliminate child labour in supply chains in the private sector, ‘’ Zulu said.
“Child labour elimination is too important to not have employers’ at the forefront, promoting good practice.”
Reflecting on to the collaboration between ILO and NECA, the Director-General of NECA, Dr Timothy Olawale stated that, “the challenge of child labour globally has become worrisome and unacceptable to us.’’
He said no nation could afford to mortgage its future leaders through unwholesome activities such as child labour.
“We frown at any work which deprives children of their childhood, their potentials, their dignity and which is harmful to their physical and mental development,” he said.
“While poverty and unemployment are major drivers of Child Labour in Nigeria, made worse with the especially with the advent of Covid-19, it is still not an excuse to interfere with their education or expose them to forms of labour suited for adults.”
The ILO and NECA have signed an 18- month implementation agreement, ending January 2022, to strengthen the capacities of employers and employers’ organisations in child labour elimination in supply chains in Nigeria towards improving private sector compliance on child labour elimination.
They are optimistic that the outlined intervention will contribute to the achievement of SDG 8.7 and the 2021 International year on the elimination of child labour in Nigeria.