Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has rejected the report of a United States Department of Labour, USDOL, that blacklisted the nation as “engaging in child soldiering’’ due to Boko Haram activities in the country.
Mr. Ngige made the country’s position known when he received representatives of the department led by Marlin Hardinger in his office.
Samuel Olowookere, a Deputy Director (Press) in the ministry, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Mr. Ngige, blacklisting of Nigeria as a result of desperate activities of Boko Haram terrorists cannot be linked to the Federal Government.
“Similar low rating of the country by the department, includes sectors like agriculture, gold mining and construction as well as begging and scavenging.
“Child involvement in those sectors are partly due to cultural practices as well as consequence of poverty and poor education in parts of Africa.
“The issue of artisanal gold mining by children was a cultural practice based on village groups who involve youth and women groupings,” he said.
Mr. Ngige assured the international community that every other aspect of the report where the nation was genuinely lagging would be swiftly tackled by the present administration.
The minister said that Nigeria would issue a technical report to appropriately respond to all the issues raised by USDOL and put them in proper perspective.
However, the U.S. department commended Nigerian government for making significant progress in stemming the scourge of child labour and human trafficking in the country.
Mr. Hardinger said the reports reviewed child labour development in 142 countries, and found moderate advancement in the nation’s efforts to tackle child labour.
“Significant update on the report covering 124 countries listed Nigeria to have been combating child labour.
“Nigeria has made efforts to do good legislation against child labour,” Mr. Hardinger said.
The representative added that the nation’s positive reports had been applauded by policy makers all over the world.