The International Labour Organisation has completed the renovation of Oke Agunla Community School, Ondo State, and enrolled a total of 110 children at risk of child labour in the community.

This was contained in a statement made available to our correspondent on Friday.

The Director of the ILO Abuja Country Office for Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Vanessa Phala, at the handover of the newly renovated school disclosed that nearly 28 per cent of children aged five to 11 years, and 35 per cent of children aged 12 to 14 years in child labour were out of school.

In Nigeria, according to the last National modular child labour survey country report, there are not less than 15 million children working children, with about 6 million in child labour and half the number trapped in hazardous work.

Phala said “Today is a significant show of the importance of education in the elimination of child labour as emphasised in the ILO Convention 182, on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

“The impact of this indecent exposure of our children to unfair labour practices is visible in our collective safety and development, as out of school children are vulnerable to the negative influences of criminals who take advantage of their innocence to sustain criminal activities from one generation to the next.”

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On the reason behind the rehabilitation of the school under the Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour Africa project funded by the Government of the Netherlands, the Director explained that the ACCEL Project supported the enrolment and re-enrolment in school, of 110 children at risk of child labour in Oke Agunla. The children have also been provided with back-to-school kits (school bags, textbooks, uniforms, notebooks, sandals, & socks) and they are recording increased interest to attend school.

“However, this interest in school was dampened by the inadequate situation of the community primary school. It is for this reason that the project decided to contribute to the renovation of this school, to foster school attendance and increase academic performances for the children,” Phala said.

She expressed hope that the children of Oke-Agunla would grow up to be the leaders their village desired, as well as the citizens of whom their country could be proud.

Representing the Ondo State Government, the Coordinator of Ondo State Operations Coordinating Unit, Olaoluwa Bankole, assured the team that the government would complement the kind gestures of ILO-ACCEL by addressing the problem of staff shortage in the school.

He expressed the appreciation of the Ondo State Government to ILO-ACCEL Africa for the tremendous support to quality education in the state by renovating the Oke Agunla Community School, Ondo State.

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