ILO, FG Release Survey On Evidence-based Data On Child Labour
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Federal Government say they are set to release survey on evidence-based data on child labour and forced labour in the country.
Ms Vanessa Phala, the ILO Country Director for Nigeria and Ghana said this at the National Child Labour and Forced Labour Survey Validation workshop in Abuja on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the ACCEL Africa Project, funded by the Netherlands Government and the National Bureau of Statistics.
According to Phala, after 22 years, Nigeria will eventually be able to comprehensively state its situation of child labour.
“For the very first time in Nigeria, we will be having data on the prevalence of forced labour, ‘’she said.
She said the last global report on child labour released by ILO and UNICEF, indicated that the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide.
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The country director noted that there was an increase of 8.4 million children compared with the last report with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Nigeria, you will agree with me that eradicating child labour and forced labour requires the development of monitoring infrastructure to determine and measure its magnitude, distribution, dimensions and characteristics at the national and sub-national levels.
“For this reason, the ILO through its ACCEL Africa and Map 16 projects, supported the Government to conduct the National Child labour survey.
“The National Bureau of statistics with technical support from the ILO and participation of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment have gone to the field and it’s time to see the figures,’’ she said.
Phala noted that for over the past 20 years, the ILO continued its collaboration with Nigeria, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment and other ministries, agencies and departments to eliminate child labour and protect children within the legal working age.
According to her, so many children in Nigeria are trapped in slavery, forced labour and trafficking, they are forced to participate in community conflicts; used for prostitution, pornography or in illicit activities, exploited domestic workers, among others.
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“We must act urgently to protect the rights of our dear children and restore their childhood as the detail of this survey is of concern to all stakeholders.
“That is be it government, employers. workers, civil society organisation, academia, international organisations, donors. UN Agencies, parents, individuals, including the children themselves.
“We should start envisioning that change we intend to see in the next two years or seven years before the end date of the SDGs,’’ she said.
She charged all to contribute their quota to ensure that the evidence-based data on child labour and forced labour inform policy review, programming and implementation of various interventions.
Ms Daju, Kachollom, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment commended stakeholders for the conduct of the survey and their relentless efforts and commitment in the advocacy for the betterment of the Nigerian child, and the elimination of child labour.
“In Nigeria, child labour has become a scourge. Several children find themselves on the streets, forced to make a living with others employed in industrial complexes and hazardous environments.
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“This is attributable to various factors such as poverty, ignorance, unemployment, absence of social security for the vulnerable, misinterpretation of cultural and religious beliefs and weak institutional framework.
“Statistics reveal that there are no fewer than 15 million child workers in Nigeria; this is according to the ILO, with the UN warning that the absence of mitigating strategies could see an exponential increase in the number of children engaged in child labour.
“As a country, however, we take pride in stating that giant strides have been made in dealing with this menace.
“Most notably the adoption and ratification of ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on Minimum Age and Worst forms of Child Labour respectively; the passage of the Child Rights Act into law to domesticate the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by 35 state governments and the FCT,’’ she said.
She noted the review and the validation of the National Policy on Child Labour and the National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour, Prohibition and Elimination of Forced Labour, Modern Slavery, and Human Trafficking in workplaces, amongst other achievements.
She, therefore, urged all to remain steadfast in the fight to eliminate child labour and to achieve the Alliance 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and eliminating Child Labour in all its forms by the year 2025.
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Mrs Nike Ajala, the Abuja Office Liasion Officer, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) said NECA would continue to played a critical role in the fight for the elimination of the worst forms of child labouring the country.
Ajala said that NECA had been engaging in tripartite discussions on the issue of child labour, providing inputs into legislation and encouraging the implementation of ILO child labour conventions’ principles at national, state and enterprise levels.
“Going forward, we will continue to seek deeper collaboration with other social partners in Nigeria.
“We will also continue advocating to our employers to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility.
“This is especially to ensure that children remain in school and encouraging companies to create policies to ensure that their suppliers operate responsible businesses without child labour among others.”
JUST IN: Health Workers Begin Indefinite Strike
The Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Health Care Professional Association have directed their members to embark on an indefinite strike.
The National Vice President of JOHESU, Dr Obinna Ogbonna said this at a press briefing held in Abuja on Thursday.
JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.
The leadership of JOHESU had in a letter dated May 9, 2023, issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over alleged inconsistencies of the government in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers on their platforms.
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The 15-day ultimatum commenced on May 10, 2023, and will expire at midnight on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Obinna said, “It becomes imperative to inform you that since the Federal Government is yet to meet these demands, our members have been directed by the JOHESU National Executive Council to proceed on an indefinite strike action upon expiration of the ultimatum by midnight of May 25, 2023.”
BREAKING: Trouble Looms As FG Declares Doctors’ Strike Illegal, To Implement No-work-no-pay
The Federal Government has warned members of the National Association of Resident Doctors to shelve their planned five-day warning strike, describing it as illegal.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, issued the warning today shortly after receiving a letter from the NARD executive notifying him of the impending industrial action, billed to commence midnight today, May 16, 2023
Reacting to the letter, dated May 16, 2023 and delivered to his office at about 5pm same day, Ngige said on receiving the letter, he contacted the Minister of Health, who informed him that a meeting has been scheduled by his office with the resident doctors on Wednesday, May 17.
He therefore advised the doctors to avail themselves of the opportunity for social dialogue with their employer, rather than embark on a warning strike, which is unknown to the law.
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He said, “I will advise them to attend the meeting with the Minister of Health tomorrow. I will also advise them very strongly not to go on five-day warning strike. There is nothing like warning strike. A strike is a strike.
“If they want to take that risk, the options are there. It is their decision. They have the right to strike. You cannot deny them that right. But their employer has another right under Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, to withhold their pay for those five days.
“So, if the NARD has strike funds to pay their members for those five days, no problem. The Health Minister will instruct the teaching hospitals to employ adhoc people for those five days and they will use the money of the people who went on strike to pay the adhoc doctors. That is the ILO principles at decent work, especially for those rendering essential services. Lives should be protected. One of my sons is a resident doctor. I will advise him to go to work and sign the attendance register. The people seen at work are the ones to receive their pay. If you don’t work, there will be no pay.”
Commenting on the five demands of the doctors, Ngige said the Federal Government lacks the powers to compel the states to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Fund, since health is in the residual list, where both the federal and state governments have the powers to legislate.
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According to him, the job of the Federal Government is to make policy and where the states disagree, they are at liberty to make their own policy.
He added that the federal government cannot bully the states into domesticating the MRTF if they do not want to.
Regarding the issue of immediate payment of the MRTF to their members, he said it was appropriated in the 2023 budget, but has not been released, as the 2022 budget was still running, adding that those in 2022 have all been paid.
He denied the claim by NARD that the Federal Government did not pay minimum wage consequential adjustment arrears to their members, saying that all workers in the Education and Health Sectors, and even the defence agencies benefited from the adjustment.
He noted that the doctors cannot declare nationwide strike because some states were owing their members, pointing out that the federal government cannot also dabble into the issue, being a state matter.
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Similarly, he said the Federal Government as the Executive arm of government cannot intervene in the bill at the National Assembly to bond doctors for five years, as it is a private member’s bill.
According to him, any intervention by the executive on the matter impinges on the autonomy and independence of the legislative arm of government.
Ngige said although the bill has passed through first and second reading, he was sure it would be shot down at the public hearing, since the law prohibits forced labour.
He advised the doctors not to talk about 200 percent pay rise, as it was not feasible, adding that “besides all the government has done for doctors and other workers in the health sector, such as upward review of hazard allowances, the Nigeria Medical Association was already negotiating with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Presidential Committee on Salaries on pay rise for doctors.
“It is incongruous for student doctors to embark on strike when consultants training them were already negotiating with the Federal Government.”
UBTH @50: Management, Staff, Patients Embark On 5km Walk To Promote Preventive Health Care
Management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), on Monday, organised a 5 kilometer Walk as a way of promoting preventive health care among Nigerians.
Speaking during the Fitness Walk, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, Chief Medical Director, UBTH, said that walking, as a form of exercise, had proven to help prevent a lot of diseases ranging from hypertension, diabetes and some cancers.
Obaseki, while speaking to journalists shortly after the walk tagged “Walk for Life,” said the event was part of activities to celebrate the hospital’s 50th anniversary.
He said, “Engaging in different forms of exercise helps to keep the body fit and healthy.
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“The walk for life is a way to sensitize the public on the benefit of walking and how walking helps in preventing numerous diseases.
“The first step in health care is disease prevention, hence we are creating awareness about the need to exercise always”.
He said that most patients visited the hospital for curative purposes, noting that healthy living which involved regular exercise was key to disease prevention.
“One of the dangers of modern day style of living is the sedentary life style. So many persons sit in their offices from morning to night without exercising their bodies.
“Once you are fit and have the right weight, a lot of diseases can be prevented”, he said.
Speaking to traders at Uselu market, Dr Taiwo Oyewumi, Head of Physiotherapy department, UBTH, regretted that only a few per cent of Nigerians engage in regular exercises.
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Oyewumi said, “Exercise is the cheapest way to stay healthy, and it is recommended that an individual does about 7,000 steps a day for healthy living.
“People who do exercise don’t fall ill often. Doing exercises makes you sleep well, improves brain function, and reduces bad cholesterol and hypertension.
“Exercise at less 10 to 15 minutes a day because exercise is good for your health”
The 5km walk started from UBTH premises at Ugbowo through Uselu market and back to UBTH premises.
Participants included UBTH board members, staff, students, patients and their families, fitness enthusiasts, journalists and other members of the public.
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