The Honourable Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Prof Stephen Ocheni has disclosed that in a renewed effort at ensuring safe, healthy, and decent work, as well as the curbing of unnecessary wastages in the economy, the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on measures to eliminate Child labour and promote the culture of sound occupational safety and health through various workplace interventions that include the vigorous conduct of labour and factory inspection of Workplaces nationwide.
Professor Ocheni stated this in Abuja today, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 2018 World Day for Safety and Health at Work, with the theme ‘’ Generation Safe and Healthy’’
The Minister revealed that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has been involved in the development and subsequent review of policies, legislative and regulatory frameworks that are critical to achieving sustainable improvement in safety and health standard in work places, adding that, the Ministry was recently involved in the development of three subsidiary regulations under the factories Act, which had received the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
He reiterated that Nigerian children have the right to freedom from all forms of Child Labour and the right to some level of education. He noted that all workers have the right to safe and healthy work places, and emphasized ‘’It is, therefore, my hope that this World Day for Safety and Health at Workplaces will advance the required cultural change, which will put safety and health on the top agenda of every organization in this country’’.
The Minister further stressed that the purpose of the event was to redirect the citizens’ attention to issues and challenges relating to Occupational Safety and Health and to advocate for collective and sustained action of all stakeholders towards entrenching a preventive Safety and Health Culture’’.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bolaji Adebiyi said that the focus of this year’s commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work is on the improvement of the Safety and Health of young workers and the elimination of child labour in the country.
In his words ‘’the campaign is premised on the higher vulnerability of young workers to Occupational safety and health hazards and calls for co-ordinated action to stem the tide with a view to building a next generation that is safe and healthy.’’
He observed, that occupational accidents, injuries, illnesses and deaths are wholly preventable and that there is no justification for such wanton loss of lives and properties to continue; we must all join hands to reduce work-related accidents, injuries, diseases and deaths to the barest minimum, let us all say ‘’No’’ to Child Labour and seek to fully address the peculiarities of safety and health of young workers. He admonished.
Earlier in their good-will messages, the Regional Director for the International Labour Organization (ILO), Dr. Dennis Zulu and the representative of the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mrs. Adenike Adebayo Ajala agreed that the combating of Child Labour can only be through a joint effort for all stakeholders, adding that, there was need to launch a world campaign to improve the health of young people and also secure a suitable and healthy environment for all workers.
In her vote of thanks, the Director, Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. Ifeoma Anyanwutaku (Mrs.) expressed her profound gratitude to the social partners, facilitators and all stakeholders for their contributions that made the symposium a success.