Aidoghie Paulinus, Niamey
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has urged West African youths not to lose hope in the region.
The call by IOM is a sequel to the number of irregular youth migrants from the sub-region who go through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea to seek greener pasture in Europe.
Speaking during an interactive session at the three-day Parliamentary Sensitisation Forum on Migration in West Africa held in Niamey, Republic of Niger, IOM Project Officer, Niger, Christina Atekmangoh, said from IOM’s experience in the sub-region, migration seemed to be something really embedded in the socioeconomic life of West African young people.
Atekmangoh said: “For young people in the sub-region, it is not to lose hope because I think they are frustrated with so many things. They think that maybe life is always better out there.
“I think home is always home. It can be difficult, yes, but we can’t always think that migration is the only passage to success. I think that there are other alternatives that we can try at home to also succeed back at home.”
Atekmangoh further enumerated areas such as school, small business enterprises, farming, mechanical work, carpentry, farming whereby youths in the sub-region can be engaged.
While nothing that migration is not new in the sub-region, Atekmangoh added that the dynamics of migration has, however, changed.
She said in time past, people used to migrate from one country to another within the same region, but at the moment, migration had taken a different dimension whereby people migrate from one region to another.
Atekmangoh, however, said going by the changes in the migration dynamics, IOM had also changed its strategies in order to meet the challenge of migration in contemporary times.
“Like I said in my presentation, when IOM was opened in Niger more than five years ago, we didn’t have this activity of the assistance to migrants. We had other activities like developments and other issues,” Atekmangoh said.