The Federal Government is committed to promoting social security in order to eradicate poverty, ensure inclusion and address contemporary socio-economic challenges in the country.

Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, gave the assurance during the Induction/Award of Fellows Ceremony of the Institute for Social Security Development (ISSDEV) in Abuja.

Ngige was represented by Mrs Dorcas Ajiboye, Director, Social Security and Occupational Safety and Health, and Cooperative Development Department in the ministry.

The minister said that the event provided the opportunity to highlight the importance of social security in enhancing socio-economic stability in the country.

According to him, the promotion of social security “emphatically proves the commitment of the government to its change agenda in ensuring the welfare of all citizens”.

“With the emergence of various ongoing programmes in the Social Security, Social Protection and Social Safety net, different groups of vulnerable persons, unemployed and employed Nigerians have benefited, thereby ensuring and advancing good governance.

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“Social Security is generally considered as the panacea to poverty eradication, social inclusion, peace and other contemporary socio-economic challenges.”

Noting that social security in Nigeria is fragmented, Ngige underscored the need to sufficiently prioritise the premise on which social security is built and called for more efforts to address the noticeable gaps.

He gave assurance of the ministry’s commitment to work with all Social Security stakeholders for greater achievements.

“More than ever, we all need to work closely in addressing this variance.

“It is pertinent that deliberate and dedicated support from all sides be given to achieve comprehensive social security coverage in all strata of the society,” Ngige said.

Also speaking, Mr Issa Aremu, General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), noted that Nigeria was one of the few countries lagging behind on the issue of social security.

According to Aremu, who is also the Labour Party Governorship Candidate in Kwara, described social security as a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty in any country.

“I am happy that an institute is being formed to really raise awareness towards the improvement of social security in the country.

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“We can absolutely agree that social security is a human right; it is the right of every one.”

Aremu said that the ongoing negotiation of the new National Minimum Wage should be used to also factor in the minimum pay for pensioners.

“It is not just minimum wage for those who are working, I think there should be minimum pay for pensioners.”

The Labour leader charged the institute to revisit the 2014 National Conference Report on the issue of Social Security as well as champion the cause for the creation of a Social Security Development Fund that would cater for the aged and vulnerable in the society.

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Earlier, Sen. Chris Adighije, President of the institute, said it was envisioned to assist the government, employers and workers towards building social protection floors and comprehensive social security system in the country.

Adighije, who is also the institute’s Council Chairman, charged the new inductees on absolute diligence, commitment and professionalism in the discharge of their various assignments.

He added that this is with a view to attracting more members so that the institute would grow to enviable heights.

In a remark, the Registrar, Mr Johnny Okoronkwo, said the institute’s mission included enhancing the knowledge base on social security issues through capacity building and strategic partnership with relevant stakeholders, to ensure the development of a comprehensive social security system in the country.

Okoronkwo said the institute would also promote public awareness on social security services and administration.

“We will promote and support all social security interventions and ensure their adherence to national and international standards,” Okoronkwo said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has played a major role in developing an internationally defined normative framework guiding the establishment, development and maintenance of social security systems across the world.

It has become the world’s leading point of reference as stated in Convention No. 102, which is the flagship of the up-to-date social security Conventions since it is deemed to embody the internationally accepted definition of the principle of social security.

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The UN agency defines social security as the protection that a society provides to individuals and households to ensure access to health care and to guarantee income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity or loss of a breadwinner.

Nigeria is a signatory to the ILO Convention 102.