Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its displeasure and worry over the readiness of more youths to embark on irregular migration to Europe and other countries, despite the risks of crossing the Mediterranean sea or being kidnapped.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated this Tuesday in commemoration of the 2019 National Migration Dialogue, organised by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) in Abuja.
Farouq cited a recent report by the United Nation Development Programmes (UNDP), which revealed that 30,000 irregular migration deaths and disappearances occurred between 2014 to 2019, of which over 17,000 took place in the Mediterranean.
“While we celebrate the return and successful reintegration of over 15,000 Nigerians stranded in Libya, we are worried that more youths are ready to undertake this dangerous path to search for life,” the Minister said in her opening remarks.
She suggested that government should adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), put together by the UNDP, explaining that “it places great emphasis on ownership at different levels, especially regional and national levels, as key to its successful implementation. As we read in the concept note, many countries have already taken this path.”
Meanwhile, a mild protest played out when the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, protested against the use of artistes from Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, and believed to hail from the South East, to perform a drama on the hazards of irregular migration.
Ngige protested that people from the South East are not known for embarking on such trips, but rather venture into businesses. He suggested that artistes from Edo and Delta States should have been employed to portray the menace of irregular migration, to accurate represent the demographic that most frequently migrate illegally.
Meanwhile, NCFRMI Federal Commissioner Basheer Garba Mohammed, pointed out that most Nigerians abroad fail to showcase the rich heritage with which the country is blessed.
“We have realized that our problem is not with migration to foreign countries, but with ourselves not taking the lead to sell the richness of every region of our country as a first priority. We are rich in oil, in agriculture and, most importantly, we are blessed with an extremely skilled workforce of young professionals.
“Each year we loose our young professionals through both irregular and regular migration to other countries where life has been sold as more prosperous than home. Ironically, several migrants upon exiting Nigeria had never stepped into their states of international departure before traveling to their destinations abroad,” he said.