ILO urges Nigeria to create jobs, economic opportunities to promote peace

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By Joan Nwagwu

Abuja, Sept. 22, 2022 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called on the Federal Government to create more jobs and economic opportunities as key drivers in the promotion of peace, resilience and social cohesion in the country.

The ILO Country Director to Nigeria, Ms Vanessa Phala said this in a Panel Session tagged “Using Social Dialogue and Labour Standards in Promoting Peace and Resilience in Nigeria’’ on Thursday in Abuja.

The event was organised by the ILO in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to mark the 2022 International Peace Day.

The 2022 theme for the International Peace Day is “End Racism and Build Peace’’ and it is celebrated annually on Sept. 21.

Phala said that globally, almost 2 billion people were still living in fragile and conflict effected situation where poverty was increasingly concentrated.

“The ILO believes that employment, decent working condition and social dialogue can contribute to peace and resilience, ’’she said.

Phala also said that in collaboration with member states, tripartite constituents and other stakeholder, the ILO supports an employment-centered crisis.

“In Nigeria, according to the United State Institute for Peace, the government of Nigeria has successfully intensified the fight against the extremist group Boko Haram.

“Yet the country also faces resurgent militancy in the Delta, increased agitation by pro-Biafra nationalists in the Southeast, conflicts over land use in the Middle Belt, and an economic crisis triggered primarily by low oil prices.

“The lack of peace in Nigeria can be linked to a lack of employment and economic opportunities for the growing young population.

“As a result, achieving peace goes beyond military force alone. The country must deploy Social Dialogue by interacting with all population, groups and creating decent jobs for the growing younger population, ’’she said.

Phala said that the ILO Recommendation on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205) refered to important principles that would foster peace in the world of work.

She added that this include the freedom from child labour and forced labour, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and tripartite social dialogue, non-discrimination, and equality at work, Labour Inspection, among others.

Phala however, said that Nigeria had ratified most of the conventions concerning the thematic areas.

She said the ILO supervisory bodies had requested some practical and legislative measures for their improved implementation.

Also, Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said that social dialogue and the application of labour standards had remained key in the Labour Administration System.

Ngige, represented by Mrs Juliana Adebayo, Director, Productivity and Measurement Standard in the ministry, said the topic, “Using Social Dialogue and Labour Standards in Promoting Peace and Resilience in Nigeria’’ underscores the essence of tripartism in Labour Administration System.

“The critical role of social dialogue to stabilising our industrial relations pace was demonstrated during the negotiation on the National Minimum age and the recent concluded review of the Labour Bill, ‘’he said.

He said that government had created a stable political and civil climate in Nigeria that had enabled employers and workers organisations to operate freely without fear of reprisal.

He added that the government has ratified conventional tripartite consultation convention such as the International Labour Standard which is the highest attestation to the commitment.

“Government has also realized that, social dialogue is a veritable tool for the promotion of industrial peace and harmony, decent work, income distribution, among other in the country.