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Nigeria: Federal Government Adopts Draft Policy to Eradicate Child Labor

(Sept. 24, 2013) The Government of Nigeria has adopted a draft policy to address the child labor issues that affect over six million children in the country. (Talatu Usman, Nigeria Adopts Draft National Policy on Child Labour, PREMIUM TIMES (Sept. 11, 2013).) According to the Federal Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chukwuemeka Ngozichineke Wogu, who presented the policy to the Federal Executive Council (the Cabinet), the policy was developed through a broad consultative process that included government, labor unions, employers’ associations, and civil society and faith-based groups. (Id.)

Wogu stated that the use of children in labor activities affects both the physical health and the psychological well-being of Nigerian children. (Isiaka Wakili, Nigeria: 15 Million Nigerian Children in Hazardous Labour – FG, DAILY TRUST (Sept, 12, 2013).) He added that child labor undermines national development and provides a reservoir of children for easy recruitment into violent acts, hence the need to address the challenges facing the affected children. (Id.)

In a recent survey by the national bureau of statistics in Nigeria, it was disclosed that 47% of children who are 5-14 years of age are involved in child labor in Nigeria. (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2011: Summary Report, at 11 (2011), CHILDINFO [a UNICEF website].) The study also revealed that children in rural areas are more likely to be involved in child labor than children in urban areas in Nigeria. (Id.) According to news reports, the newly adopted policy on child labor will provide the needed coordinated and comprehensive framework for multi-sectoral action against child labor in Nigeria. (Usman, supra.)

A communiqué issued at the end of a three-day workshop organized by the International Labour Organisation on the subject of elimination of child labor in Nigeria indicated that Nigeria may not be classified as a developed nation by 2020 if the country fails to tackle child labor and related issues. (Augustine Aminu, Child Labour: Nigeria May Not Be Classified Developed Nation by 2020 – ILO, DAILY TIMES (Sept. 22, 2013).) The year 2020 is significant for Nigeria because in 2009 it launched “Vision 20:2020,” a long-term plan for stimulating Nigeria’s economic growth and launching the country onto a path of sustained and rapid socio-economic development. (Economic Transformation Blueprint: Nigeria Vision 20:2020, National Planning Commission website (Oct. 2009).) The economic transformation blueprint is an expression of Nigeria’s intent to improve the living standards of Nigeria’s citizens and be placed among the top 20 economies in the world. (Id. at 9.)

Written by Antoinette Ofosu-Kwakye, Law Library of Congress Intern, under the guidance of Hanibal Goitom, Foreign Law Specialist.