By Palma Ileye
National Orientation Agency, NOA, has called on state governments in the country to increase their investments in social protection systems and schemes to help save the about 15 million Nigerian children still trapped in various forms of child labour.
In a message to Nigerians to mark the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour, WDACL, the Agency’s Director General, Dr. Garba Abari urged parents and guardians to desist from the harmful practice of putting children at risk by subjecting them to labour.
Abari expressed sadness that 19 years after the Child Rights Act was passed into law in 2003, child labour still remains a major issue of concern across the country.
The NOA Chief Executive maintained that government social protection systems are essential to fighting and reducing poverty and vulnerability towards eradicating and preventing child labour, adding that no significant progress can be made in eliminating child labour without increased investment in universal social protection systems.
He therefore urged state governments to emulate, replicate and compliment the Federal Government’s social investment initiatives for the sake of protecting children in their states from child labour.
As part of an integrated and comprehensive approach to tackle the problem of child labour in Nigeria, Abari tasked Local Governments to, on their part, to evolve adequate monitoring and compliance mechanisms, working with state governments, to prevent child labour and other forms of child abuse in their areas.
The NOA Director General described the WDACL 2022 theme, “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour” as apt and one that requires concerted efforts from all levels of government, adding that social protection was both a human right and a powerful policy tool to prevent families from resorting to child labour in the face of harsh economic conditions.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the NOA to working with the International Labour Organization, ILO and its ACCEL AFRICA – Nigeria component in raising public awareness towards Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa and Nigeria in particular.