In a bid to meet the United Nation’s target of eliminating global child labour practice in 2025, the Federal Governmenthas sought the support of the media.
While declaring open a one-day workshop on Reportage of Elimination of Child Labour organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for Labour Correspondents in Abuja, permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Yerima Tarfa said the role of journalists and media practitioners in the ongoing campaign to eliminate and prevent child labour is pivotal to the success of all strategies and policies for the elimination of child labour in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary said the current national socio-political and economic situation, coupled with the impact of Covid-19 can be blamed for increased child labour in the country.
He explained that the Federal Government has taken several measures aimed at reducing and eliminating child labour and changing the narrative with regards to poverty and other child labour influencing factors.
He said, “However, despite Government’s interventons and demonstrated commitment through programmes like the conditional cash transfer to poor and vulnerable Nigerians, several job creation efforts especially through enterprise creation and MSMEs development support, home grown school feeding programme, and several other such programmes, which have direct or indirect impact on livelihood improvement and by extension, child labour, it is the responsibility of the press and mass media to churn out professional reportage aimed at informing the public about these programmes with respect to their impact on child labour practices.”
The Permanent Secretary emphasised that the role of journalists and media Practitioners in the ongoing campaign to eliminate and prevent child labour is pivotal to the success of all strategies and policies for the elimination of child labour in Nigeria.
He therefore called on media practitioners, whose responsibility is to educate critical stakeholders and the general pubic on the negative impacts of Child labour, and enlighten the public on the safety nets, as well as the school programmes designed by Government as preventative measures against child labour, to join forces wth Government to change the narrative and dent rising child labour participation rates.
He said, “We assure you of our support in this collaboration and hope that our partnership will help Nigeria to meet the UN 2025 target of eliminating global child tabour practice.”
Earlier while welcoming participants to the workshop, the Deputy Director Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan said the decision to convene the workshop was to create avenues for better partnership between the government and the media as part of efforts aimed at eliminating child labour in the country.
He said, “The workshop, essentially, is for the purpose of building the capacity of the Ministry’s external and Internal media on the reportage of Child Labour.
“The critical function of the media in the collective effort at eliminating Child Labour should not be underestimated, as it wields significant social influence. It should be noted that in the performance of its gate-keeping role, the media can ignite national disdain of the retrogressive practice of Child Labour.
“As the media plays the role of enlightening the public on issues, it becomes necessary to adequately equip them with detailed information on subjects and situations for effective dissemination.
“Furthermore, as the information bridge between the government and the public, the media conveys government’s policies and programmes to the people, and brings back reactions to government. In this sense, the media is intrinsically bound to the government in protecting the citizens.”