ILO commits to FG on protection of rights of migrant workers


The International Labour Organization (ILO) has pledged its commitment to Nigeria on protective governance framework to protect the rights of migrant workers.

Ms Vanessa Phala, the ILO Country Director to Nigeria, said made this commitment at a two-day workshop to validate the Revised National Policy on Labour Migration 2014, late Thursday in Abuja.

The  workshop was organized by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMLE) in collaboration with the ILO within the framework of the “FAIRWAY Programme” currently being implemented in Nigeria by ILO

Phala, represented by Austin Erameh, ILO, National Project Coordinator, said the timely review of the 2014 National Policy on Labour Migration, 2014 had become necessary to accommodate the current realities.

“This event indeed comes at a very auspicious moment, occasioned by the global pandemic and increasing need for proactive governance frameworks that guarantees adequate protection and promotion of the rights of all migrant workers.

“Since 2019, ILO has continued to support the process of revising the National Policy on Labour Migration adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2014.  This engagement has been an extended, thorough and tasking process which today culminates in this validation workshop.  Today’s validation exercise becomes more significant at a period characterized by an increase in the number of migrant workers globally from 164 million in 2017 to 169 million in 2019,” she said.

She however said that the most recent estimates captured in a report released by the ILO in June, further recognized the significant contribution of migrant workers to socioeconomic development of both origin and destination countries.

Phala said the report further noted that women accounted for about 40 per cent of all international migrant workers in this regard.

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She therefore said ILO welcomed the inclusion of a dedicated section on gender responsiveness into the revised draft policy, making a clear departure from the 2014 document.

“ILO having established and maintaining the world’s largest and most robust global labour migration databases, will continue to support countries with evidence for framing labour migration policies.  ILO will also be accompanying mechanisms required for effective operationalization of same. I will like to place on record assurances of ILO’s commitment to support the ministry and indeed the government of Nigeria towards a conclusive end of this process,’’ she said.

John Nyamali, the Director of Employment and Wages, Ministry of Labour and Employment said the Federal Government was determined to manage and organize its labour migration.

Nyamali said that for the government to harness its benefits for national development, it adopted the National Policy on Labour Migration (NPLM) and an accompanying Action Plan in October 2014.

He said that the policy was developed through an extensive stakeholders’ consultative process and support from partners providing the required resources for the first labour migration policy in Nigeria.

“The three broad objectives as identified for the 2014 policy include the promotion of good governance of labour migration. This is to protect migrant workers and the promotion of their welfare and that of their families left behind. It is also to optimize the benefits of labour migration on development while mitigating its adverse impact,’’ he said.

Nyamali said that the policy after many years of implementation was due for review and the Ministry of Labour and Employment had commenced the process of reviewing and updating the policy in 2019.

“This is in collaboration with stakeholders in a bid to incorporate emerging global migration dynamics and national realities on labour migration to further strengthen labour migration governance in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He said the main objective of the workshop was the formal validation of the revised National Policy on Labour Migration by stakeholders in preparation for its subsequent approval by the Federal Executive Council.

Also Prof. Sarah Anyanwu, a Consultant on the draft policy said the review was overdue based on the three years’ interval for review as stipulated in the NPLM 2014.

Anyanwu said the objectives of the workshop were to present the draft revised version of the policy to stakeholders including members of the Technical Working Committee.

“The workshop will also collate additional feedback and integrate same upon consideration and recommendation from the Technical Working Committee into the revised policy. The workshop is also expected to validate the revised National Policy on Migration,’’ she said.