The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has linked child labour to pervasive poverty in the African continent.
Ngige made the remark on Wednesday while addressing the International Labour Organisation (ILO) 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, holding in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
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Ngige, according to the spokesman of the ministry, Olajide Oshundun, said the current administration in Nigeria had adopted multi-pronged approach to fighting child labour through reduction in poverty index, in spite of teething challenges.
The minister, who co-chaired the day’s panel, said Nigeria faced numerous challenges in the fight against child labour, but was doing everything possible to stem the social malaise.
According to him, the challenges in the fight to eradicate child labour include low revenue earnings due to fall in crude oil prices and production, over dependence on imported goods or items.
The minister listed others as low agricultural production and the consequential economic recession.
He attributed the worsening scenario in Nigeria to the COVID-19 pandemic which stagnated economic activities all over the world, pushing the country into a second economic recession in 2020.
“Even before the present administration, poverty had crept into Nigeria’s socio-economic firmament and accentuated child labour with many non-working age persons taking to farming and artisanal mining.
“Also, the educational curriculum not properly developed to give the right and proper skills in the secondary and tertiary institutions compounded matters.
“High rate of school dropouts among children also became a major issue and a catchment pool for Child Labour.
“Also, decent jobs for young persons gave way to informal, hazardous jobs, such as illegal refining of petroleum products which has claimed scores of lives with attendant pollution,” he said.
He said to reverse poverty which was at the root of child labour, the Federal Government had rolled out various measures including the diversification of the economy. (NAN)