In a bid to give them a sense of belonging, the Federal Government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, to provide succor especially shelters for Nigerian migrant returnees mostly women and children.
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, who spoke after signing the pact, yesterday in Abuja, said part of the MoU would also address the issue of gender-based violence against women and children.
As for the location of the shelters, Tallen explained that part of it would be built in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
She encouraged state governments to provide shelters at the local levels in order to get the migrants closer to their people, adding that on her part, she would provide socio-psychological support.
“I want to thank Mr President for his commitment in tackling irregular migration which basically, women and children are mostly affected.
“I am sure looking at all the migrants that have returned from different countries majority are women and children, and they suffer the most.
“I want to thank the IOM for its commitment in ensuring that all the process that leads to final signing of this MoU has fully been put in place. We have been working with the IOM office and we are strategic partners.
“I want assure you that we will continue to rehabilitate migrants that are basically women and children. We will provide socio-psychological support and to have a shelter they have inspected and is of standard.
“Already we are appealing to our governors and most states to have put in place shelters at the local government level,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Mission, IOM, Frantz Celestin, said the pact would go a long way in ameliorating the psychological and emotional plights of migrant returnees.
Celestin re-emphasized the dangers of irregular migration, which include; rape, exploitation or even death in the process.
“We are combining the strength of the ministry that has the mandate for such and that of IOM that has the global presence.
“So, that makes us natural partners, to make sure that we put system in place to provide women and children both as they move and when they come back to the country.
“We are looking at the end of the month for possible return. As the honourable minister says that it would be better for people to be in their communities that is why she is advocating at the LG level for the shelters to be established.
“Migration is a natural phenomenon. I don’t think it is a problem; it is the manner in which it occurs that is the problem,” he added.