Prompted by the imperative to eradicate child labour as outlined in the Africa social protection strategy, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has underscored the critical importance of swift action in aiding Subnational governments to grasp child labour indicators and data sources through household surveys in Nigeria.

Danjuma Emmanuel, National Project Coordinator of the Global Accelerator Lab (GALAB) under the ILO, emphasized this during a three-day GALAB project titled “Intensify Action Against Child Labour and Forced Labour,” held in Akure, the capital of Ondo state.

Emmanuel warned that without rapid intervention, “we will fall short of our target to eliminate child labour by 2030.

Projections suggest only a modest 22 percent reduction in child labour over the next six years.”

He continued, “Child labour persists globally, with 160 million children—63 million girls and 97 million boys—engaged in child labour worldwide as of 2020. \

Alarmingly, 79 million children, nearly half of all child labourers, toiled in hazardous conditions detrimental to their health, safety, and moral upbringing.

“Despite progress in some regions, global efforts against child labour have stalled since 2016, with stagnant percentages and increased absolute numbers.

Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, has seen a rise in child labour, with Nigeria bearing a significant burden due to its population size.

Child labour

“ILO and UNICEF advocate for social protection policies such as healthcare access, income security, decent work, and gender equality to combat child labour. However, Nigeria’s social protection coverage remains inadequate, with only 11 percent of the population covered and a mere 5 percent enrolled in health insurance— the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa.

“To achieve the goal of extending coverage to 40 percent by 2025 and eliminating child labour, there’s an urgent need for intensified efforts to assist subnational governments in understanding child labour indicators through household surveys.

“Micro-level statistics will facilitate targeted policy and social development interventions, focusing on households vulnerable to child labour.

Despite existing data collection efforts for the poor and vulnerable, child labour remains unaddressed in state surveys conducted by the Bureau of Statistics.”

In essence, the call for accelerated action is not just a moral imperative but a crucial step towards safeguarding the well-being and future prospects of millions of children in Nigeria.

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