The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for legislative and decisive actions, as well as increased collaboration among global stakeholders to prevent, prohibit and eradicate child labour in its entirety.
Obaseki made the call in commemoration of the 2021 World Day Against Child Labour, with the theme, “Act now: end child labour!” marked every June 12, by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and observed across the globe.
The governor noted that there is an urgent need for stakeholders to improve efforts in the global fight against child labour in order to save the nine million additional children at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the ILO and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Obaseki said his government has strengthened institutions in the state to enforce the Child Rights Law, and ensure that children are protected from abuses, especially child labour, which robs them of their childhood and deprives them of the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest.
The governor, who assured that reforms and policies being implemented in the state’s basic education sector would encourage parents to send their children to school, added that “The Edo State Government through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme is providing a robust opportunity for children to get quality basic education.”
As the World commemorates the International Day Against Child Labour today, it is imperative to reiterate the need for legislation and collaborative efforts among global stakeholders, including civil society groups, international organisations, organised private sector and governments at all levels to bring an end to the global menace of child labour, which currently affects over 160 million children worldwide.”
He further noted that “The state government enacted the Violence Against Persons (VAP) law to protect children from all forms of abuse which include the use of children for cheap labour, thereby denying them the chance to actualise their future aspirations.”
According to the ILO and UNICEF, “The number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, recurrent crises, extreme poverty, and inadequate social protection measures have led to an additional 16.6 million children in child labour over the past four years.”