By Appolos Christian
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on Northern Governors Forum to take concrete action to support its decision to stamp out almajiranci culture.
NLC in a statement by its President, Ayuba Wabba, to mark World Child Labour Day, said that only a concrete action would fully rehabilitate and re-integrate the millions of children on the street across Nigeria back to the mainstream society.
“In Nigeria, the incidence of child labour occurs in every state. It is estimated that there are at least 15 million children are engaged in child labour. This number perfectly tallies with the number of out of school children in Nigeria – 10 million children who are not able to access primary education and 5 million children who dropped out of junior secondary school.
“Nigeria’s crisis of child labour has been exacerbated by the Almajiranci culture in northern Nigeria. It is commendable that the Northern Governors Forum has taken a decision to stamp out the Almajiranci culture from their states. We urge that the pronouncement is followed up by concrete actions to fully rehabilitate and re-integrate Almajiri children back to the mainstream of society.
“While joining the rest of the world in celebrating this occasion, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) demands the domestication of the Children Rights Act in every state of the federation. We also call on government at every level to ensure the prioritization of enabling social conditions for optimum upbringing and development of every Nigerian child. In this vein, we demand increased budgetary allocation to the education and health sectors and particularly aimed at strengthening the Universal Basic Education Programme and children immunization.
“The NLC celebrates every Nigerian child. You are the leaders of tomorrow. Our commitment and struggles are to create a better Nigeria today that you can inherit tomorrow, improve upon and pass on to future generations. At this time of Covid-19 pandemic, we are committed to securing the jobs of your parents, preserving your guardians’ income and sustaining livelihood for families. This is our contribution to protecting our children from the exploitations of child labour and the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are more resolved and tenacious on this commitment now more than ever before!
“In 2002, the United Nations (UN) through the InternationalLabour Organization (ILO) set aside June 12 for the annual commemoration of the Child Labour Day all over the world. The objective of the celebration of the Child Labour Day is to call the attention of heads of government, trade union leaders, employers, workers, local authorities, policy makers and civil society activists to the challenges of child labour in order to find sustainable solutions to stamp out this social crisis.
“The International Labour Organization at the 87th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), precisely on June 17, 1999, adopted the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 182. The convention which aims at mobilizing national and international actions for the prohibition and elimination of the most extreme incidences of child labour came into force globally in November 2000.
“Nigeria ratified Convention 182 on the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour on October 2, 2002. This convention, just as UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, has found local contextualization in the Children’s Rights Act passed by the parliament and signed into law by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.
“International conventions and our national legislation define child labour as the employment of any child under the age of 18years in a manner that deprives the child basic education and development. Child labour also includes the subjection of children under the age of eighteen years to any form of trafficking, sale, slavery, and debt bondage.
“Furthermore, the use of under aged children as child soldiers, drug mules, and articles for sexual abuse cum transactions are extreme incidences of worst forms of child labour. These social aberrations are not only heinous crimes against children but they also constitute mortal assault on the soul of humanity. In the face of Covid-19 pandemic, children exposed to these abuses are more vulnerable to infection.” The statement in full stated.