The International Labour Organization (ILO) has begun training agricultural extension officers in Akure, the Ondo State capital on the protection of children from exploitation, hazards, and risks in the Nigerian agriculture sector.
The training, facilitated by the ILO in partnership with the Ministry Labour and Employment, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, is being conducted in-person, with Covid-19 regulations in place.
In attendance are agriculture extension officers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural development, labour experts, researchers, and stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.
In his opening address, the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, represented by Mr. O.M Folayan applauded the efforts of the ILO towards eliminating child labour by 2025, while encouraging the team to move freely and observe the goings on in the Sunshine State: ‘The children we leave untrained today will serve as a havoc to us tomorrow’, he warned.
Speaking at the event, the National Coordinator for the ACCEL AFRICA Project of the ILO, Dr. Agatha Kolawole reminded participants of Nigeria’s status as the pathfinder in launching the International Year of the Elimination of Child Labour ahead of other countries and highlighted the significance of extension officers in communicating the Action Plan.
She also identified agriculture extension officers as major stakeholders responsible for ensuring compliance on agricultural best practices regarding child labour.
In addition, Dr. Kolawole noted that Nigeria has made various steps in tackling child labour issues, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
In his presentation, Dr. Oluwole Akinagbi, a senior lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Extension of the Federal University of Technology, Akure highlighted the significance of the ILO efforts in combating child labour.
According to him, the extension officers are better equipped with the training to communicate the dangers of child labour in their interactions with farming communities.
The training is expected to extend until Thursday, 22 April 2021.