From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
In an effort to curb child labour and child abuse in Nigeria, the federal government has disclosed intentions to collaborate with journalists and the mass media to come up with campaigns and other strategies against the menace.
The government expressed displeasure over the rising case of child labour and abuse of children in the country, insisting that there was desperate need to create more awareness on the dangers of child labour, and strengthen efforts to prevent and eliminate the issue which has become a nightmare for decades.
Speaking at a one-day workshop on Reportage of Elimination of Child Labour organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment Thursday in Abuja, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Yerima Tarfa, said that Nigeria is making efforts towards achieving a significant milestone in the elimination of Child Labour practices.
Tarfa said child labour and other forms child abuse are worrisome, adding theat they negatively impact on the different aspects of the nation.
According to him, journalists and the mass media have a crucial role to play in the campaign against child labour, which is a key strategy in preventing and eliminating its prevalence.
“This workshop has become necessary because of the need to create awareness and mobilizing the critical public in the fight against child labour.
“Journalists have the responsibility to educate the critical stakeholders and the general public on the negative impacts of Child Labour, and at the same time enlighten the public on the safety nets, as well as the school programmes designed by government as preventive measures against child labour, and support for survivors” he said.
Tarfa pledged that the Ministry will endeavour to implement strategies and policies to prevent Child Labour and support survivors.
Deputy Director, Inspectorate Division in the Ministry, Mrs. Olaolu Olaitan who was one of the speakers at the workshop, described child labour as a form of exploitative work or forced labour in children are subjected to the detriment of their health and normal growth.
She said that such children have been made to work under harmful conditions and for various reasons.
She disclosed that an estimated 160 million children were subjected to child labour condition as at 2020, with 9 million additional children at the risk due to impact of COVID-19.
She further said one in every 10 children worldwide are engaged in hazardous work, with “almost half of them being made to do things that endanger their health and moral development” she said.
Earlier while welcoming participants to the workshop, Mr Charles Akpan, Deputy Director Press and Public Relations also in the Ministry, said the workshop was aimed at creating avenues for better partnership between the government and the media in conveying policies and programmes that cam help at eliminating child labour in the country. He said he hoped that at the end of the workshop, participants would have been able to understand the collective responsibility of state and non-state actors such as parents, children, social partners, employers and workers organisation, policy makers, law enforcement agencies, and especially the media in putting an end to the problem.