By Obioma A.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director in Nigeria, Ms. Venessa Phala, at the commemoration of the 2023 International Peace Day held in UN House Abuja, told representatives of the Federal government of Nigeria and other participants that “lack of peace can be linked to the lack of employment and economic opportunities for the growing young population”, and that “achieving peace goes beyond military force.”
She charged Nigeria government to interact with different population groups (Social dialogue) and create decent jobs for its growing young population, as part of the crucial actions it must take in its efforts to ensuring sustainable peace and a progressive society.
While she stressed the importance of peace in the world of work, she noted that peace is an important factor in the pursuit of stability, progressive, sustainable development in human society and success in generally. She therefore call for constant effort by government, employers and employees to ensuring peaceful co-existence in workplace and society at large.
In her words; “The country (Nigeria) must also deploy social dialogue by interactions with all the population groups and creating decent jobs for the growing young population…with all stakeholders advocating for peace and ensuring peaceful co-existence among families, tribes and regions.
“The ILO recommendation on employment and decent work for peace and resilience; Recommendation 205, refers to the important principles that can foster peace in the world of work, such as freedom from child labour and force labour, freedom of association and collective barging and tripartite social dialogue, non-discrimination and equality at work, labour inspection etc.
“Nigeria has ratified most of the Conventions concerning the above thematic areas. However, the ILO supervisory body requests some practical and legislative measure for the improved implementation. The Nigeria government and social partners with the support not the ILO, require also to intensify some of the efforts to ensure decent jobs for the growing population.”
Furthermore, she enjoined journalists to the lead in fostering peace in the Nigeria and across the world by informing and educating people with factual news.
“The media must take the lead in the global coordinated campaign to ensure last peace in all societies by consistently informing and educating the public on some of these international labour standards and fundamental rights at work it is important that you’re able to get the message across and get the factual message across so that our communities are well informed and also well educated.
“Employers of labour, you have the responsibility to also ensure peaceful co-existence among workers by respecting their rights at work and also rights of all workers across all the different categories.
“For the workers, you must be advocate of peace by consistently respecting the freedom of association of all workers. Together, we can create a peaceful society, free of violence, conflict and racism by always promoting dialogue amongst stakeholders. It is in the decision we make at home, work, the headlines that we cast, the stories that we choose to highlight and the agenda that we set out to promote. Let us take the responsibility to secure the future of the beautiful country, Nigeria.” She, said.
She further reiterates; “The government has a very important role to create an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises to make sure that investors are coming and staying in Nigeria. Government also have opportunities to create jobs and most importantly ensure the provision of an education system that is robust to produce the kinds of persons that are required by the labour market. This is an important role of the government.
“As the United Nation country team here in Nigeria, we are also doing our best to coordinate even our efforts especially in the issue of employment and youth employment. We have just finalise the Cooperation Framework for Nigeria, and one of the outcomes of that framework speaks to employment. And there are various UN agencies that are actually doing a lot in terms of supporting government’s efforts in job creation and employment.
“The UNDP is implementing a jubilee program that was launched by President Buhari and this is meant to also provide some funding, grants to enable those that have just graduated to get on to the door and be able to get employment.
“UNICEF is also leading a project also launched by the Vice President and it is also touching on the grassroots, in view to making sure that we are exploring opportunities that are brought by the digitization in trying to provide job opportunities.
“UNIDO is also in the same space. UN Woman is also promoting certain specific interventions around woman empowerment.
“Of course the ILO, we are working with the Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Labour in this aspect. The Nigeria youth employment action plan is our framework that we are hooking all these interventions. So that at the end of the day, when we monitor and evaluate the implementation of the plan.”Speaking on the ILO’s mandate for peace, Ms. Phala said; “The ILO was created in the wake of the First World War on the foundational principle that “universal and lasting peace can only be established if it is based on social Justice”. It is on this basis that we in Nigeria are organizing this panel session to showcase how the instruments of the ILO such as Social Dialogue and International Labour Standards can be used for fostering peace.
Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, by observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms. It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.”