The Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), has called for concrete actions to fully rehabilitate and re-integrate the Almajiri children back to the mainstream of society.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, made the call in a statement on Friday in Abuja to mark the 2020 World Day Against Child Labour with the theme,”COVID-19: Protect Children from Child Labour, Now More Than Ever”.
Wabba said that in Nigeria, the incidence of child labour occured in every state.
According to him, it is estimated that there are at least 15 million children who are engaged in child labour.
“This number perfectly tallies with the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, 10 million children who are not able to access primary education and five million children who dropped out of junior secondary school.
“Nigeria’s crisis of child labour has been exacerbated by the “Almajiranci culture” in northern Nigeria.
“It is commendable that the Northern Governors Forum has taken a decision to stamp out the “Almajiranci culture” from their states.
“We urge that the pronouncement is followed up by concrete actions to fully rehabilitate and re-integrate Almajiri children back to the mainstream of society,” he said.
Wabba said that the Congress joined the rest of the world to celebrate the occasion, while demanding for the domestication of the Children Rights Act in every state of the federation.
“We also call on government at every level to ensure the prioritisation of enabling social conditions for optimum upbringing and development of every Nigerian child.
“In this vein, we demand increased budgetary allocation to the education and health sectors and particularly aimed at strengthening the Universal Basic Education Programme and children immunisation,” he said.
He also said that the Congress celebrates every Nigerian child as they are the leaders of tomorrow.
Wabba added that our commitment and struggles are to create a better Nigeria today that you can inherit tomorrow, improve upon and pass on to future generations.
“At this time of Covid-19 pandemic, we are committed to securing the jobs of your parents, preserving your guardians’ income and sustaining livelihood for families.
“This is our contribution to protecting our children from the exploitations of child labour and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are more resolved and tenacious on this commitment now more than ever before,” he said.
Wabba, however, noted that in 2002, the United Nations (UN) through the International Labour Organisation (ILO), had set aside June 12, for the annual commemoration of the Child Labour Day all over the world.
He noted that the objective of the celebration of the Child Labour Day was to call the attention of heads of government, trade union leaders, employers, workers, policy makers, among others to the challenges of child labour in the country.
He noted that this was in order to find sustainable solutions to stamp out the social crisis.
“Child labour also includes the subjection of children under the age of 18 years to any form of trafficking, sale, slavery, and debt bondage.
“Furthermore, the use of under aged children as child soldiers, drug mules, and articles for sexual abuse cum transactions are extreme incidences of worst forms of child labour.
“These social aberrations are not only heinous crimes against children but they also constitute mortal assault on the soul of humanity,” he said.