Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday launched Nigeria’s initiative to end the worst form of child labour, slave labour and human trafficking in the country.
He said there were clear indications that modern slavery was still prevalent in Nigeria.
The Vice-President averred that available figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that about 25 per cent of the 80 million Nigerian children under 14 years (about 20 million) were engaged in one form of economic activity or the other.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, spoke at the national consultation and launch of the Alliance 8.7 in Nigeria.
He said consultation and launch were aimed at prioritising the areas of focus, developing projects and programmes for immediate implementation towards the achievement of Alliance 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Osinbajo said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria joined other countries of the United Nations (UN) to adopt the global Sustained Development Agenda in September, 2015.
“In 2016, following this adoption, leaders from around the world launched Alliance 8.7, a global partnership committed to take immediate and effective measures to accelerate action towards the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025, end child labour in all its forms everywhere.
“This call to action presents a unique opportunity to bring about a world free of forced labour, modem slavery, human trafficking and child labour in all ramifications.
“Target 8.7 is ambitious. No government, country or organisation, can solve this challenge alone, and eradication efforts can only be accelerated through concrete commitments and coherent and coordinated actions at the national, regional and global levels.
“Alliance 8.7 is, therefore, a platform created to help achieve the ambitious undertaking of Target 8.7 and coordinate with those working on the many interrelated Sustainable Development Goals.
“As a country, we are very proud of this opportunity to demonstrate our unreserved determination to combating child labour, forced labour and other impediments on the growth and development of the child.”
He said further that the “ILO estimates the global figure of child labourers to be 168 million with Nigeria accounting for about 15 million; 21 million is estimated to engage in forced labour including 5.5 million children globally.
“According to ILO, about 25 per cent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of 14 are engaged in economic activities and about half of this population is children exploited as child labourers and those working in hazardous situation such as, victims of child trafficking, domestic work, sex Work, drug peddling and hawking.”
According to him, child labour, forced labour and human trafficking issues in the country have been receiving attention from the Federal Government.
But Osinbajo said more concerted efforts/actions were still required.