The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria has expressed sadness over the number of child labourers estimated to be about 15 million in the country.
Relying on the report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), FIDA said with the figure, Nigerian has the highest recorded rate of child labour in West Africa.
FIDA said this in a statement commemorating the 2021 edition of World Day Against Child Labour.
“This type of neglect leads to an extremely dangerous environment that often results in bodily harm, severe trauma and even death.
“It’s sad to note that child labor is still on the rise, Africa ranks highest among regions both in the percentage of children in child labor — one-fifth — and the absolute number of children in child labor — 72 million.
“Estimates determine that the current number of child workers in Nigeria is 15 million according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). At a staggering 43% of the total population of minors, it is the highest recorded rate of child labor in Western Africa,” the statement signed by FIDA’s Country Vice President/National President, Rhoda Tyoden and National Publicity Secretary, Eliana Martins, read in part.
The group said despite extant provisions in the labour laws, “Nigeria does not actively enforce safety regulations or preventative measures in the workplace.”
Plight of child workers in Nigeria
In expressing its stand against child-labour, FIDA noted that children working on the streets are prone to violence and kidnapping.
“If a child suffers harm on the job, help or compensation does not extend to the family, leaving them to face the repercussions alone,” it said.
It added that “children who are especially vulnerable, such as orphans, are more at risk for human trafficking and forced labor than adults, with their rate being estimated at 58 per cent.”
FIDA said rate of child-labour has not abated in Nigeria despite the signing of the UN convention on the rights of the child 1999, the African Charter on the Rights Welfare of the Child 2001, and the Child Right Act 2003.
It lamented that the rights of most Nigeria children are violated due to poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, polygamy and high demand for cheap and submissive labour.
‘World Day Against Child Labour’
This year’s World Day Against Child Labor focuses on action taken for the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor.
It is the first World Day since the universal ratification of the ILO’s Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, and takes place at time when the COVID-19 crisis threatens to reverse years of progress in tackling the problem.
The International Year was adopted in the 2019 United Nations General Assembly.
The main aim of the year is to urge governments to do what is necessary to achieve SDG Target 8.7, which is to “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms”.
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