The Federal Government and the International Labour Organisation have called for more collaboration and partnerships to tackle 15 million children from child labour in Nigeria.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the appeal at the National Children Conference in commemoration of the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) with the theme, “Universal Social Protection to end Child Labour’’, in Abuja.
Ngige recalled that in 2015, world leaders gathered and adopted the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target 8.7 in all its forms by 2025.
According to him, the call sought to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour and modern day slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour.
He, therefore, said the collaboration and partnerships was imperative amidst growing concerns of a global social crisis with alarming proportion.
According to him, global estimates have shown that child labour is on the rise; with an increase from 152 million to 160 million between 2016 and 2020.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has seen 19.6 per cent of all African children in child labour, and a possible nine per cent in hazardous work; this is in contrast to continued progress being made elsewhere in the world.
“In Nigeria, child labour has become a scourge. Several children find themselves on the streets, forced to make a living, with others employed in industrial complexes and hazardous environments.
“Statistics revealed there are about 15 million child workers as at 2020, according to the ILO, with the UN warning that the absence of mitigating strategies could see an increase of children engaged in child labour by the end of 2022.
“This, of course, will most certainly have massive implications in the near future. However, as a country, we take pride in stating that considerable efforts have been made in dealing with this menace,’’ he said.
He added that most notably the adoption and ratification of ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on Minimum Age and Worst forms of child labour, respectively.
He also said others are the passage of the Child Rights Act into law to domesticate the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with adoption by about 30 state governments.
According to him, the implementation and enforcement of National Action Plan on Child Labour, Prohibition and Elimination of Forced Labour, Modern Slavery, and Human Trafficking in workplaces was spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Ngige also said the National Steering Committee, as well as State Steering Committees, and Desk Officers on Child Labour were established at all levels of government and institutional levels to translate the provisions of the five-year National Action Plan.
“In spite of all these, we require more collaboration and partnerships to confront the task ahead of us,’’ he said.
The Minister, while speaking on the theme for the year, called for more investments in social protection systems in order to create a strong protection base that will keep children away from child labour.
He said as we reflect on the progress being made so far, let us also not lose sight of the importance of providing safety nets for children in vulnerable conditions.
“We urge employers to honour the right of workers to social protection by constantly remitting the employer’s contribution to health protection, old age benefits, employment injury scheme, and other support systems,’’ she said.
Streetlight: Anambra Set For Solar Energy Option-Commissioner
The Anambra State Government says the switch from diesel powered streetlights to solar powered alternative will soon be completed.
Commissioner for Power and Water Resources in the State, Mr Julius Chukwuemeka, told The Tide’s source in an interview in Awka that the disruption in the streetlights project was due to the migration from diesel powered generators to solar powered energy .
Chukwuemeka said the diesel powered alternative had to be suspended because of its huge cost implication and adverse environmental effects..
He said the switch, which would be cheap and sustainable, would be concluded soon and streetlights restored.
According to him, the new system would also be made to run Independently without the danger of outage in transmission noting that the streetlights were also part of the state’s security architecture.
“Looking at what we had in the past, we noticed that hundreds of millions of Naira was being spent on diesel to power these generators, what this government is doing is to cut costs and achieve more.
“At that time, the price of diesel was between N200 and N250 per litre but now it is between N800 and N850 per litre, you can see that it is no longer cost effective to use generators.
“Diesel is also not very environment -friendly because of the emissions, so after our comparative analysis, we concluded that the best way to power the streetlights is to migrate fully to solar energy.
“We are considering energy sources that are cost effective and also amenable to a green environment, it should also be independent such that we don’t depend on the national grid,” he said.
Chukwuemeka said the solar energy source initiative was also being developed to power water schemes to drive public water supply projects in the state.
He said water supply had been restored at the State Secretariat complex, while the Iyiora pilot scheme in Anambra West was already functional with 5,000 gallons capacity reticulated solar motorised machine.
“However, we are discussing and working with EEDC to ensure that power supply hits 24 hours in most parts of the state and as you can see there has been overall improvement in power supply in Anambra,” he said.
NDLEA Recovers N8.8bn Tramadol, Nabs Suspect In Lagos
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recovered about 13, 451,466 pills of tramadol 225mh worth N8.9 bililon in street value in Lagos .
Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi said this in a statement in Abuja.
Babafemi said operatives of the agency had also arrested the suspected drug baron, Chukwukadibia Ugochukwu, in connection to the recovered drugs.
He said the operatives raided one of the mansions of the suspect in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, Lekki area of Lagos.
According to him, the arrest of Ugochukwu, who is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Ltd, was coming barely two months after NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another suspected drug kingpin in the estate.
The Tide’s source reports that Chris Nzewi, was arrested on Saturday, July 30, along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who was said to have cooked the illicit drug for him.
At least, 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were reportedly recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.
Babafemi said following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday, Sept. 30 stormed the Plot A45 Road 2 home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug kingpin.
“A search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg.
“This was in a carton which contained 13,451,466 pills of the drug, while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day,” he said.
Babafemi said that before his arrest, Ugochukwu, who hails from Ihiala Local Government area of Anambra had been on the agency’s watch list.
The suspect, he said, was as one of those behind the tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria.
“Preliminary investigation shows that he has about six mansions within the VGC. one of which he uses to warehouse the tramadol consignment, while he lives in another one at Plot Z-130 Road 67 and uses one as his office.
“Five exotic vehicles had also been located in two of his mansions, out of which two SUVs including a bulletproof jeep had been successfully removed to the agency’s facility,” he said.
Reacting to the latest drug haul, the Chairman, NDLEA, retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence.
Marwa also appreciated Nigerians for supporting the agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
According to him, “I’ll like to reassure Nigerians and other stakeholders wherever they are located across the country.
“This assurance is coming beyond our preparedness to work with them on this onerous task of saving our people from the drug scourge.
“This partnership is a further warning to the drug barons and cartels that there is no hiding place for them anymore.
“This is because, we remain on their trail and we’ll always get them, “he said.
NCSU Tasks FG On Recovered Looted Funds
Following the successful conduct of its 12th Quadrennial Delegates Conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the Federal Council of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), has called on the Federal Government to reinvest all recovered monies said to have been looted from the nation’s treasury by public office holders in employment generation ventures.
The union, which made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the conference and signed by its new Chairman, Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa and Assistant General Secretary,Comrade Daniel Otakpo, applauded the committed efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and the various anti-graft agencies including other relevant organs of government in recovering the looted funds.
The union also expressed deep concern on the present global economic recession being experienced by workers and Nigerians, with it attendant effects of further exposing them to untold hardship owing to the negative activities of some unpatriotic persons in the oil sector, thereby making it extremely difficult for payment of workers’ salaries and provision of resources for infrastructural development programmes of governmental levels.
It, therefore, called on the government to diversify the economy to other sources of revenue generation by paying particular attention to Mineral Resources, Tourism and Agricuture.
The NCSU equally stressed the need for reduction of the cost of governance in view of dwindling resources, and observed with dismay hundreds of billions of naira frittered away in the guise of security votes, and enjoined the government to be more prudent in resources allocation.
The conference-in session condemn in strong terms what it described as unfortunate and illegal the continued coercion of members of NCSU without their consent by forcefully deducting from the salaries “dues”, despite several circulars from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, pointing out that this illegal act constitutes a breach and also an infringement on the right of such workers to belong to the union of their choice as guaranteed by the ILOC convention 87 and 98 and national laws of the country.
The union, therefore, called on the relevant agencies to enforce the right of workers to belong to a union of their choice, while at the same time, commending the Federal Government for keeping faith with workers by paying salaries and allowances of federal employees.
New officer selected at the conference to pilot the affairs of the union in the next four years include Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa, Chairman; Comrade Okwor Hillary Onyebuchi,Vice Chairman; and Comrade Akam Moses Oden,Treasurer.
Others are Comrade Greg Nwajei Peace Udoka,Trustee; Comrade Muhammed Babaniogu Kolo, Auditor; and Comrade Adelakan Adeyinka Olusola, Assistant Secretary.
The immediate outgone Chairman of the union, Comrade Timothy Odebunmi,in his valedictory speech, thanked the members for their support, and went ahead to list the modest achievements recorded by his administration in the past four years.
Odebunmi,who would be retiring from the civil service in the next few days, said his administration established an empowerment scheme where civil servants were trained and over 100 union members acquired tailoring skills and were empowered with some stipends. He stressed the need for the union members to close ranks as well as look inwards to fashion a way of solving problems collectively.
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