The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government has strengthened institutions in the state to enforce the Child Rights Law, to ensure that children are protected from abuses, especially child labour, which robs them of their childhood and deprive them of the opportunity to lead a fruitful, rewarding life.
The governor insisted that parents and guardians who run afoul of the provisions of the Child Rights Law would go in for flouting the law, adding that reforms in the state’s basic education sector should encourage parents to send their children to school.
Obaseki made the call, in commemoration of the 2019 World Day against Child Labour, marked every June 12, by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and observed across the globe.
He said the state government is putting the necessary policies and programmes in place to assist children across the state reach their goals in life as part of commitment to ending child labour, which can be achieved through collaboration among stakeholders.
He noted, “There is an urgent need for parents, guardians, caregivers, religious groups, well-meaning individuals and organisations to support the government in putting an end to the practice by ensuring that children who should be in school are not used as cheap labour.”
Obaseki said, “The Edo State Government through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme is providing a robust opportunity for children to get quality basic education. The objectives of the programme will be attained when stakeholders support government’s commitment to implementing relevant programmes, policies and laws to protect children from abuses.”
He noted, “The state government enacted the Violence Against Persons (VAP) law to protect children from all forms of abuse which include the use of children for cheap labour, thereby denying them the chance to actualise their future aspirations.”
On the 2019 theme, ‘Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams!,’ Obaseki said his administration will remain committed to protecting children’s rights and their aspirations for a secured future, adding that the state government will not accept in any form, the use of children for labour in any of its ongoing project sites.
“We will continue to monitor and prevent the use of children for labour on construction sites and industries and sanction parents of those who hawk when they should be in school. We will continue to provide children with the opportunity and safety nets to protect their rights, dignity and physical space, through enforcement of the right legislations such as the state’s Child Rights Act, Violence Against Persons law to protect children from any form of abuse and exploitation,” the governor said.
The ILO launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate the practice.