The Federal Government has called for reform in the conduct of the affairs of the Governing Board of the International Labour Organisation.
Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, made the call in a statement signed by Samuel Olowokere, Deputy Director Press in the ministry on Thursday in Abuja.
Ngige, who is the official Africa Region spokesperson, said that the call is important because of the need to stop the overbearing role of France and Britain in the conduct of regional meetings of ILO.
He revealed that the call for the reform was the outcome of the meeting at the 331 session of the Board of ILO on November 7, in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to him, Nigeria on mandate of Africa countries had stoically canvassed against participation of non-members in regions other than theirs, in Africa and South America.
Ngige said: “It bears repeating our earlier position adopting the principle that each member state will be invited as a full member to only one regional meeting.
“With the governing body having the discretion of inviting on a case by case basis, any member state as an observer to other regional meetings.
“To continue to do otherwise is to evoke the ugly memories of colonial era.
“As an independent region, our concern on the total cluster liberation of our region is well articulated in our region’s Agenda 2063.
“The constraint of member states with constitutional challenge should be addressed at the appropriate political forum other than the ILO regional meeting.’’
The Minister warned that Africa would work with independent member states of the ILO without interfering with internal sensitive sovereign constitutional matters of the state.
He said that the matter of restriction of regional meetings to only members states with specific geographical expression is a long-standing battle over the years.
He said that the matter hinged on the Board’s decision in March 2001; France had invited the African Regional meetings as member responsible for external relations located overseas.
He identified Mayotte and La Reunion, to be the two non-metropolitan territories situated in the region, but now existing as overseas departments and, therefore, an integral part of France.
Ngige said: “This issue is often treated as a sensitive constitutional matter which members discuss with great caution and restraint for fear of incurring the displeasure of colonial masters of France and Britain.’’
He said that they were perceived plot by the two countries to postpone the decision on the matter till 2018 and thereby introduce strange elements into the draft.
He noted that Africa would oppose debate on the new draft by France and Britain or otherwise withdraw from further participation on the Board as a protest.
He, however, said that the 332 session would hold in March 2018.