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Address Poverty, Abolish Child Labour, NLC Tasks FG

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has appealed to the Federal Government to address the issue of inequality and poverty in the country in order to abolish child labour.
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen, yesterday, in Abuja.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has declared June 12 of every year World Day against Child Labour Day.
The ILO has also estimated worldwide that 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment, while 152 million are victims of child labour and 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.
The ILO also estimated that in absolute terms, almost half of child labours (72.1 million) were to be found in Africa.
According to Wabba, we have about 218 million of these children working under very precarious condition.
They ought to be in school and not actually working.
“Therefore, there are two conventions that actually try to address these issues of which Nigeria is trying to domesticate the conventions.
“One of them is convention 138, which deals with the minimum age for anybody to be employed to work, that is 18 and above and therefore from five to 17 years old anybody that is between that age group is hacking on child labour.
“We also have convention 182, which deals with the worse form of child labour where we have children working in very dangerous working environment.
“We have most of these occurrences in sub-Sahara Africa and some part of Asia where there is issue if inequality and poverty,” he said.
The NLC president said it was necessary for the government, worker groups, among others, to collaborate in ensuring that these children were not out in the streets working in precarious situation.
He said that the government must ensure that the youths are developed and engaged in order to become responsibly citizens of the country.
Wabba added that the issue of child labour is something that we have given a lot of attention and it is something that the ILO is very passionate about.
“That is why these two conventions is very important and strategic because we cannot address the issue of inequality without quality education to the youths which is a very important instrument.
“Therefore, we have to use a lot of platform to actually do policy engagement, and if you remember, we have the child right act, though not too many states have domesticated the act.
“If the act is domesticated, it will go a long way, that is if all the states are able to domestic it. We must also make the domestication a central policy in our development,’’ Wabba said.
He, however, called on government at all levels to embrace free education from primary to tertiary level and other benefits such as scholarships and bursary as it would encourage the children of the poor to continue to access education.
He also noted that the best way to address the issue of inequality and poverty was to give the children of the poor quality education.
“Because by the time they are educated, they would find their level in the society but if we denied them education and make them to work under precarious conditions then their situation becomes worse in the society.
“Like in the Nigeria context, children are seen hawking not because that is what they want to do but because there is extreme poverty and these children are used to augment the family income,’’ he said.
He also called on the government to address the issue of social justice, inequality, social security as this was the only way to ensure abolition of Child Labour in the country.
Wabba said that labour would do a lot of advocacy and policy engagement to ensure that the abolition of child labour was achieved.
He also noted that part of the labour law being reviewed by the National Assembly was also to address the age bracket that ILO has raised in its Committee of Expert report since 2012, saying that Nigeria should review its laws.
According to him, the review would also crimainalise all employers that employed children between the ages five and 17 except possible farming.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments

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President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari

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Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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