FG seeks stakeholders help in fight against harassment, violence in workplace

In his remarks when he flagged off a two-day stakeholders sensitization workshop on ILO Convention 190 (C190) on Violence and Harassment and Elimination of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the Workplace in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, D. Chris Ngige, stated that Convention 190 is the first international treaty to recognize the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

Ngige, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, said that eliminating harassment and violence in the workplace aligned with the Federal Government’s determination to create an enabling working environment for men and women in the country, as applicable in developed economies of the world.

The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government was committed to ratifying ILO Convention 190 Recommendation 206 on Violence and Harassment to strengthen already existing institutional and legal framework to fight violence and harassment, as well as GBV in the country.

Ngige stated that C190 represented an opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect for all, adding that creating awareness on the importance of C190 would serve to generate public acceptance of it.

He noted that GBV would impact negatively on the world of work and impede the realisation of “Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 5 and 8 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Decent Work and Economic Growth, respectively.”

The Minister disclosed that “due to the critical nature of the Convention, ILO has embarked on a global campaign to build support for C190, inviting all its constituents, stakeholders and civil society to join hands to ensure wide acceptance of the Convention.

“It is expected that Governments of Member States that ratify C190 will put in place the necessary laws and policy measures to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work.”

He remarked that as part of efforts to check violence and harassment, and GBV, Nigeria already had in place a Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on Gender Based Violence. And further listed “efforts by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to declare a state of emergency on Gender-Based Violence; the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee; the Senate approval of the Sexual Harassment Bill.”

Also, he noted that  “in June 2021, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Police, and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) signed an agreement to formally join forces to combat GBV.”

The Permanent Secretary further disclosed that the workshop, as  part of the preliminary activities towards ratification, was convened to ensure wide acceptance and facilitate a smooth ratification of ILO Convention 190.

Represented by Ag. Director, Productivity Measurement and Labour Standards department,  Mrs. A. J. Adebambo,Tarfa added that though Nigeria  was yet to ratify C190, the Federal  Government had always ensured best practices in labour administration.

In a goodwill message, the Director, ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Ms. Vanessa Phala, represented by Mrs. Chinyere Emeka-Anunu, pledged the commitment of ILO to continue supporting Nigeria as it embarked on the journey for the ratification and implementation of C190.

Present at the event were representatives of Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

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