The International Labour Organisation (ILO) yesterday called on the federal government to increase its investment in social protection systems in order to create a strong social protection base that can keep children safe from child labour.
ILO said without immediate action, the number of children in child labour could rise by 8.9 million by the end of 2022 due to increased poverty and vulnerability.
ILO director, country office, Vanessa Phala made the call in Abuja at an event to mark 2022 World Day Against Child Labour with the theme, “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour”.
Phala said the investment should focus more on improved fiscal space for social protection through improved legal framework to make the right to social protection a reality for all Nigerians including children, establishment of universal child and family benefit, extension of social protection to the informal and rural economy.
In addition, she said Nigeria must strengthen the capacity of children within the legal working age, rehabilitate existing school structures and provide learning tools or alternatives especially for children who require skills trainings in the informal sector.
On his part, minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige said that the federal government in collaboration with other stakeholders have been working assiduously and collaboratively to ensure the elimination of child labour in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7and 8 and to ensure young workers of legal working age are protected and work in safe conditions.
Ngige also called on the corporate establishments to support government by investing in the social protection to boost the fight against child labour.