The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Monday, challenged the media to focus more on reporting child labour issues with a view to eliminating the practice in the country.
He gave the challenge during three-day training for media practioners on child labour reporting and presentation of the national advocacy strategy on elimination of child labour in Abuja.
Represented by a Director in the ministry, Mr Dauda Ajuwon, the minister decried what he termed “increasing cases of child labour practice in the country”, where he said the media could play a pivotal role in the elimination of the menace.
He said “I implore you to take advantage of this training to enrich yourselves on child labour reportage, which would help in eliminating it.”
Ngige added that the ministry, through its state labour offices, reported 5,401 and 3,937 child labour infractions in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
He noted that 1,494 and 1,278 victims and their families were empowered, while 287 and 342 offenders were prosecuted during the years under review.
The minister, therefore, commended the efforts of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Government of Netherlands for their support toward eliminating child labour in the country.
He noted that the Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chain in Africa (ACCEL Africa) project launched in 2019 had developed an action plan aimed at taking immediate and accelerated steps in eliminating child labour in supply chains with focus on cocoa farms.
The National Project Coordinator of ACCEL Africa, Dr Agatha Kolawole, said the workshop would enable journalists understand issues around child labour, use of ACCEL platform to project it and apply solutions which would lead to positive behavioural change in the public.
Kolawole said “journalists and media practitioners have a better understanding of the main concepts and conventions on child labour and possess improved understanding on child labour issues and capacity to ensure effective and accurate reportage.”
Dr Timothy Olawale, the Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), said the organisation had been advocating and creating awareness about the effects of hiring minors in businesses.
“NECA is committed to providing platform that will be used to fight the scourge of child labour, and amplify the elimination of the menace in global supply chains. We strongly believe that employers should be at the forefront of promoting good practice.”
Olawale, who was represented by the NECA Media Officer, Mr Oluwaseun Amigun, said that the organisation was working with employers and other Stakeholders in the Organised Private Sector on interventions that would contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 and goals of ACCEL Africa.
The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, represented by the ICT Officer in the organisation, Mr Ishaku Monday-Nok, also stressed the role of the media in eliminating child labour and its effects on the child and the society at large.
He also stressed the need for the use of social media, “which has a wider reach and more accessible to create more awareness and ensure total change and eradication of child labour in Nigeria.”
The President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Quadri Olaleye, represented by Mr Hassan Anka, urged the media to report on the ills of child labour to reduce the scourge.