Nigeria has launched the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour (IYECL), as part of global action to accelerate the fight against the practice. 

In a keynote address on the occasion, Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, stated that the event was to commemorate the formal launch, and the implementation of the Action Pledges made by Nigeria at the global launch on 21st January, 2021.

According to the Minister, “All is now set to take immediate steps to implement the Action Pledges and other activities aimed at eliminating Child Labour in order to achieve the target of having a society free of Child Labour and other forms of modern slavery by 2025.”

He noted that the UN General Assembly had in July, 2019 declared 2021 as the “International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour”, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) was mandated to take the lead in implementing it.

The declaration, he said, “was a call for an accelerated pace of progress at all levels in the global fight against Child Labour, through practical and innovative actions, and awareness creation programmes at global, regional and national levels.”

Ngige further stated that at the African Regional Launch of IYECL held on 31st March, 2021, Nigeria also demonstrated her readiness to shift from commitment to action in achieving the African Union (AU) agenda.

He disclosed that the Action Pledges, presented by Nigeria at the international launch of IYECL, prioritized “key activities towards the achievement of Target 8.7 of the SDG, which seeks to end Child Labour, Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking by 2025.”

According to him, the Pledges include the validation of the second cycle of the National Policy on the Elimination of Child Labour and its National Action Plan, before the end of February. 

Ngige noted that this pledge had been achieved already as “the reviewed National Policy on Child Labour and the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour (2021 – 2025) was validated earlier today.”

Other pledges include the development of a Child Labour/Forced Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in Supply Chains, which was started in 2020 and would extend to the end of 2021.

Another pledge, he said, is “Rapid Result Cash Register (RRCR) launched on 19 January, 2021 for four million persons of Urban Poor and Vulnerable People”, among other pledges.

The Minister observed that though considerable milestones had been achieved in combating Child Labour and all forms of Modern Slavery in Nigeria, progress had been rather slow and unequal nationwide.

He therefore enjoined all stakeholders and members of the Steering Committee to join forces in executing the Action Pledges by translating the commitments to concrete actions in order to achieve Target 8.7 of the SDG.

The Director, ILO Country Office, Vanessa Phala, commended Nigeria for operationalizing one of the Action Pledges it made the Global Launch of the 2021 IYECL in March.

Represented by Chi-Chi Emeka-Anunu, Phala said the implementation of the pledges required the collective action of all the stakeholders. 

She pledged the support of ILO to all its tripartite partners and all other relevant stakeholders in the fight against Child Labour.

Present at the Launch were the Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; Ministers for Federal Capital Territory, Mines and Steel Development, and Agriculture and Rural Development, represented; Trade Union Congress President, Quadri Olaleye; representative of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), among others.

The event also marked the official presentation of the validated National Policy and National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour, by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa.

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