Gov. Obaseki seeks legislation, global action against child labour

Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has called for legislation, as well as  increased collaboration among global stakeholders, to prevent, prohibit and eradicate child labour in its entirety.

Obaseki made the call in commemoration of the 2021 World Day Against Child Labour, with the theme, “Act now: end child labour!” marked every June 12, by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and observed across the globe.

The governor noted that there was an urgent need for stakeholders to scale up efforts in the global fight against child labour, to save the nine million additional children at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Obaseki said his government had strengthened institutions in the state to enforce the Child Rights law and ensure that children were protected from abuses, especially child labour, which robbed them of their childhood and deprived them of the opportunity to live to their fullest.

The governor assured that reforms and policies being implemented in the state’s basic education sector were meant to encourage parents to send their children to school.

“The Edo State Government, through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme, is providing a robust opportunity for children to get quality basic education.

“As the World commemorates the International Day Against Child Labour, it is imperative to reiterate the need for legislation and collaborative efforts among global stakeholders.

“This includes civil society groups, international organisations, organised private sector and governments at all levels, to bring an end to the global menace of child labour, which currently affects over 160 million children worldwide”, Obaseki said.

He added: “The state government enacted the Violence Against Persons (VAP) law to protect children from all forms of abuse, including the use of children for cheap labour, thereby denying them the chance to actualise their future aspirations”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the ILO and UNICEF as saying that the number of children in child labour had risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, recurrent crises, extreme poverty, and inadequate social protection measures have led to an additional 16.6 million children in child labour over the past four years”, the two organisations said.