By G9ija

The Federal Government on Monday announced its plan to prosecute 629 child labour offenders.

It said the offences were committed between 2018 and 2019.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige stated this at a workshop for Media Practitioners on Child Labour Reporting and Presentation of the National Advocacy Strategy on the Elimination of Child Labour in Abuja.

Represented by the Director of Inspectorate Department in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Dauda Ajuwon, the minister explained that through its state labour offices, the ministry reported 5,401 and 3,937 child labour infractions in 2018 and 2019.

In a statement by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Charles Akpan, the minister said 1,494 and 1,278 victims and their families had been empowered in 2018 and 2019, while 287 and 342 offenders were being prosecuted.

Ngige said a good advocacy strategy and effective Child Labour reporting was important in the attainment of Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to eliminate child labour, especially its worst forms, by 2025.

The minister recalled that the Accelerating Action For the Elimination of Child Labour in supply chains in Africa, tagged: “ACCEL Africa Project,” was launched in Nigeria on May 2, 2019, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through the support of the Government of Netherlands.

According to Ngige, the ACCEL Africa Project, in partnership with Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, organised series of stakeholders’ meetings and developed a plan of actions aimed at taking immediate and accelerated steps in eliminating child labour in supply chains with focus on cocoa farming and artisanal gold mining in Ondo and Niger states.