17 million Nigerians living abroad, says government

The Federal Government has declared that no fewer than 17 million Nigerian are currently living in various countries of the world, while report also showed that about 36,000 Nigeria immigrants arrived Europe by sea.

• 36,000 illegal immigrants arrive in Europe by sea
The Federal Government has declared that no fewer than 17 million Nigerian are currently living in various countries of the world, while report also showed that about 36,000 Nigeria immigrants arrived Europe by sea.

The Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this at the National Consultation on the Global Compact for safe, orderly and Regular Migration, in Lagos yesterday.

Farouq said many migrates who cross international boarders resort to irregular means of migrating through dangerous routes like long treks across deserts and crossing the sea which has resulted to countless deaths and missing persons.
In reference to a report from Ministry of Italian, the commissioner said in 2016 alone 36,000 Nigerians, about 21 per cent of the total 171,299 immigration arrived Europe by sea while in March 2017, there were 1,899,830 internally displaced persons in Nigeria due to insurgencies and environmental disasters and for the same reason, about 200,346 Nigerians fled in 2016 alone and were granted refugee status in the neighbouring countries of Cameroun, Chad and Niger (UNHCR).

In a similar context, the chief of mission, IOM Nigeria, Enira Krdzalic affirmed that there are increasing number of women arriving Italy for trafficking purposes, adding that number of women arriving in Italy increased from 433 in 2013 to 11,009 in 2016 and more than 70 per cent Nigerian migrants that arrived Italy in 2016 were involved in trafficking and other exploitative activities between June and November 2016.

He called on the right authorities and stakeholders to come together to discuss the issues associated with migration and offer concrete recommendations on strategies and mechanisms to annex the development potentials of migration while minimizing its consequences.

Meanwhile, he stated that the United Nations high level meeting on refugees and migrants of the United Nations general assembly where there as a New York Declaration, the heads of government committed themselves to launch the process to develop a Global Compact on Migration (GCM), as a framework to strengthen global migration governance and enhance international cooperation on all aspects of international migration.

“The process for developing GCM is a state-led process, where all countries are expected to bring stakeholders together and agree on the national immigration issues that will feed into the development and adoption of GCM during the intergovernmental conference to be held in September 2018.”

The GCM will be the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement prepared under the auspices of the United Nations to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner” He said.

The Chief Executive, Network of Migration Research on Africa (NOMRA), Prof. Aderanti Adepoju said that Nigeria have been unjustly criminalized by the immigration platform, noting that of all countries in the world, Nigeria is the only country that has two migration related policies; policy on migration and labour migration policies which shows that Nigeria recognizes that migration has become a potential positive factor in the development process.

However, he said Nigeria lack the ability to internalized and implement most of the provision of these two policies which the compact as a platform is to establish the framework for more and better mobility options at lower cost.

He lamented that most of Nigeria embassies create unfriendly Visa regime and the charges for visa within West Africa are usually very expensive; “Part of our challenges is the visa regime in Nigeria is primitive and we are being criminalized and abused for irregular migration. When we close boarders, when we close visa regime, it promote irregular migration.”

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