By Joan Nwagwu, Abuja.
Wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, has called for a systemic approach to eliminate child labour in the country.
Buhari made the call on Tuesday at the National Children Conference in Abuja, organised to commemorate the 2022 World Day against Child Labour (WDACL).
The theme of the celebration is “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour’’.
Buhari, who was represented by the Kwara Governor’s wife, Mrs Olufolake Abudlrazak, said that child labour remained a major threat to child development in Nigeria, in spite of legislative measures taken by the government at various levels to curb it.
According to her, the government is implementing vigorously, the National Children School Feeding Programme as a major plank of the battle to fight child labour, increasing children school enrolment and preventing children dropping out of schools.
“Worthy of note too is the adoption of the child rights law and other protective laws by governments at the state level, which is also playing a critical role in militating against child labour.
“I have to admit that there are lots of activities in this sector, which have led to considerable difference in the area of awareness creation among parents, children and even schools.
“‘My Future Assured’, as you know, has done very much in this regard, especially through advocacy.
“I call on us all to do more because we are getting more victims and also the circumstances leading to child labour still subsist,” she said.
Buhari said that the eradication of child labour, however, required effective policies to strengthen social protection systems, education and decent work opportunities for parents and caregivers, so as to address the conditions that prompted child labour.
She said that today’s event was primarily to celebrate these children, adding that it also provided the avenue to call for increased investments in social protection systems and schemes.
According to her, this will establish solid social protection floors and protect children from child labour.
She further expressed belief that a multi sectoral approach will help in eradicating child Labour in Nigeria.
“It is in this regard that the government has put in place social security programmes to dissuade all shades of child labour.
“This is in addition to diversifying the economy through agricultural revolution and strengthening the social security system to reverse poverty as a predisposing factor in this light, ‘’ she said.
Buhari said that effective policies would strengthen social protection systems, education and decent work opportunities for parents and caregivers to address the conditions driving child labour.
Also, Kachollom Daju, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, expressed the hope that the programme would stimulate and drive passion and collective action towards improving the future of Nigerian children through enhanced social protection.
“This, no doubt is a clarion call to us all to support the child in the best way possible.
“A society that neglects the child has not only traded off its future but more importantly, its values and glory.
“Such a society would, in just a matter of time, lose its identity.
“It is about the future of these children and the future of the country,” she said.