How social protection will help eradicate child labor – The Sun Nigeria
By Bimbola Oyesola, Geneva, Switzerland, [email protected]
Olayide Emmanuel is 10 years old but as young as he is, his parents have already placed him as an apprentice with a local vulcanizer. So, every morning, while his age mates go to school, he looks at them with nostalgia, but he can’t do anything because the parents can’t afford to send him to school.
The case of Aminat Jimoh, a 12-year-old girl, is slightly different; although she goes to school, she has to peddle goods as soon as she gets home from school and on weekends. This is because the money she makes from the sale supports the family income. These are just a few of the many cases of child labor in Nigeria.
June 12 every year is celebrated as the World Day Against Child Labour. Marking the day this year, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the organized labor movement in Nigeria advocated for the social protection of vulnerable children who are currently not well protected.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder at the just-concluded 110th Session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, called for increased investment in labor systems and regimes. social protection to build strong social protection floors to protect children from child labour. .
Highlighting the theme of the year 2022, “Universal social protection to end child labour”, Ryder said the fight against child labor was truly at a crossroads, despite major efforts to reduce it. .
He noted that the choices made by governments now will make or break the lives of millions of children.
According to him, “social protection is one of the most powerful measures to prevent child labor and provide families with income security in difficult times.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of people at risk due to rising poverty, inequality and school closures.
“But without decisive countermeasures by governments, the number of child laborers could rise by nearly nine million to 169 million this year.
“Social protection is one of the most powerful measures to prevent child labour, providing families with income security in difficult times.”
The ILO boss said ensuring universal access to social protection was an integral part of the “Durban Call to Action”, adopted at the conference.
He said the call was essential to help chart the course towards a world without child labor and towards achieving universal social protection, as reflected in SDG target 1.3.
Ryder said universal social protection is particularly powerful when coverage spans the entire life cycle, from maternity and family benefits for children to unemployment assistance, old-age pensions and health care.
“A structure like this can help families cope with economic or health shocks without having to put their children to work.
“What policymakers need to do is create social protection systems that reach all children, and especially those most vulnerable to child labour,” he said.
He stressed that these systems must be put in place in parallel to ensure decent work for adults and quality education for all children.
“Yes, it will require investment, but countries will reap the benefits of a fully educated and skilled workforce.
“The choices governments make now will make or break the lives of millions of children today and in the future,” Ryder said.
In the same vein, the organized labor movement in Nigeria has tasked the federal government to support the global initiative to end child labor in the country.
Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba said in an interview that it is important for the Nigerian government to align itself with the global call for the elimination of child labor in the country.
Wabba noted that it will be a challenge for Nigeria and other developing countries if they do not align with the global agenda to achieve this goal.
He said, “Why? Because in most cases, breadwinners have no means to support their families, and therefore children are used to support the family income, especially in Africa.
“The shortage of social security also puts many people at risk, especially workers; and retirees are not paid when and when due.
The NLC chairman said the country could not isolate itself from global efforts to curb the rising rate of child labor that had become a threat to all.
According to him, “if we want to address the issue of precariousness and social vices, we must also take care of all our fellow citizens, whether they are employed or unemployed, young or old.
“We need to be able to align with the global thinking and agenda, especially to end child labor, and I think that’s a priority.
“We must try to do our best as a country, we cannot use our predicament, our challenges as an excuse not to implement this very commendable program.
“Children should be in school, they shouldn’t be on the streets; but here in Nigeria, many children are not in school, they are on the streets.
He advised the government to address the fundamental issues of development as a way to address some of those challenges that had continued to hamper growth and development.
Wabba said it has become one of the main programs of the UN and the ILO, that member countries should ensure that conventions and recommendations are implemented.
He said, “It is an obligation for every member country to implement some of these very commendable programs, recommendations and treaties that we have actually signed.
“So I’m sure Nigeria will find a way to enforce this very profound recommendation and convention.”
In her contribution, the National Vice-President of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Oyinkan Olasanoye, also instructed the government to improve social protection and social security programs for all citizens, as this would help reduce the work of children in the country.
Olasanoye said parents who don’t have social security plans to fall back on are unlikely to be able to properly care for a child.
She lamented that this will definitely lead the child to become an “income generator” for the family.
She said, “Additionally, when we talk about free education in Nigeria, we have to talk about the education rights of the child, how many of them have been implemented.
“When we talk about free health care for children, are they implemented?”
Olasanoye, who is also the president of the Association of Senior Executives of Banking, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), advised the government to do more in implementing policies regarding children, as well as providing social security to all citizens.