‘Italy receives 9,000 Nigerian migrants in 2014’
MORE than 9,000 migrants from Nigeria arrived in Italy through the Mediterranean Sea in 2014, an official of the United Nations (UN) International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has said.
A research officer with the organisation, Tara Brian, said at a conference on National Migration Policy Thematic Areas organised by IOM that Nigeria was the fourth top country of origin for people who arrived in Italy in 2014.
She explained that out of the number, 557 were minors while 78 per cent were male.
She said that Nigeria was also the fifth top country of origin of arrivals to Europe across the Mediterranean in 2014.
The IOM official also explained that there were no fewer than 3,000 Nigerian arrivals in Italy from January to end of April 2015.
In his presentation, a migration expert, Prof Adepoju Aderanti, said Nigerians abroad constituted the population of about seven African countries, adding that it is not surprising considering the country’s population.
Aderanti, however, said that Nigerians in Diaspora could be potential development tools for the country.
He said that the remittances of Nigerians abroad was about 25 $billion annually, saying it overtook direct foreign investment and was second to oil revenue.
“An average African who migrates ultimately wishes to return home but returning home depends on the situation at home. Some Africans in Diaspora want to come back home but the circumstances at home in many countries are not encouraging,” he said.
Aderanti called on the Federal Government to make migration a win-win-win situation for the migrants, the origin and destination countries through policies to attract remittance flows like tax holidays.
According to Ships & Ports, he also called for policies to woo Diaspora engagements like establishing a Diaspora commission and reviewing bilateral migration agreements with destination countries in favour of Nigeria.
Aderanti commended Nigeria for being the first country in Africa to adopt a National Policy on Migration.
A representative of the UN Resident Coordinator, Jean Gough, commended the Federal Government for adopting the National Policy on Migration.
Gough said Nigeria was a major country of origin, transit and destination within West African sub-region and globally.
She said having a legal framework for the governance of migration was an important step and a major achievement in managing the multi-faceted challenges of migration and taking hold of the opportunities.
“It is an established fact that Nigeria’s Diaspora contributes significantly to the Nigerian economy through remittances and the transfer of skills and knowledge.
“We are also confronted with the reality that many migrants travel irregularly for “better opportunities abroad”.
“This sometimes results in tragedies as recently shown in the deaths of thousands of migrants on the Mediterranean Sea,” she said.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently issued an updated and revised Rescue at Sea guide intended for the rescue of refugees and migrants.
The guide was prepared jointly by IMO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to IMO, the document provides guidance on relevant legal provisions, on practical procedures to ensure the prompt disembarkation of rescued persons, and on measures to meet their specific needs, particularly in the case of refugees and asylum-seekers.
Available data indicates that 2014 has been a record high year for illegal migration at sea, with migrants putting lives at risk and placing a huge strain on rescue services and on merchant vessels.
IMO had in 2014,“pursued actively” its targets and objectives in a wide range of subject areas including rescue at sea.
The global body explained that safety remained a high priority during 2014, pointing out that IMO adopted the safety provisions of the Polar Code and SOLAS amendments to make it mandatory.
“Also adopted were important measures addressing container safety and enclosed space entry drills. Several amendments entered into force during the year. Domestic ferry safety was also a topic of concern.
“2014 proved a busy and productive year for IMO on the environmental front. Among the highlights were the adoption of the environmental provisions of the Polar Code and the entry into force of the Emission Control Area for the United States and Caribbean Sea.
“Further progress was also made on extending and developing energy efficiency measures for ships.
“IMO joined other United Nations bodies in calling for action to address irregular maritime migration, an increasing problem from the point of view of loss of life at sea as well as a burden on shipping.
“The Facilitation Committee moved forward on e-business and the single window concept, approving a completely revised Annex to the FAL Convention, while the Facilitation and Maritime safety Committees agreed to look into cyber security. Action against piracy and armed robbery against ships remained a high priority off the coasts of Africa.
“IMO was involved in a series of capacity-building projects across the globe including ship recycling, energy efficiency, counter-piracy and stowaways.
“April saw the entry into force of the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, while the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks reached its criteria to enter into force in April 2015.
“IMO joined a UN and industry taskforce on Ebola Virus Disease and continued to work with ILO on seafarer matters.
“The importance of effective implementation of IMO measures was a recurrent topic throughout 2014 as it had been chosen as the theme for World Maritime Day. The Secretary-General spoke on theme at meetings and conference across the globe and recorded a video message highlighting key aspects of the subject. A host of workshops, seminars and training events were organised all over the world, and work progressed in preparation for implementation of the mandatory IMO Member State audit scheme.”
Meanwhile, Sekimizu, has launched the 2015 world maritime day with theme: “Maritime Education and Training” at World Maritime University, telling students and staff that maritime education and training was essential for the long-term sustainability of the sector, both at sea and on-shore.
He said: ““Effective standards of training remain the bedrock of a safe and secure shipping industry, which needs to preserve the quality, practical skills and competence of qualified human resources,” Mr. Sekimizu said, adding that the 2015 World Maritime Day theme provided the opportunity to highlight the importance to everybody, not just within the shipping industry, of there being sufficient quantity and quality maritime education and training available to meet the sector’s needs, now and into the future.
“The 1978 STCW Convention and Code, as amended, has set the international benchmark for the training and education of seafarers. While compliance with its standards is essential for serving on board ships, the skills and competence of seafarers, and indeed, the human element ashore, can only be adequately underpinned, updated and maintained through effective maritime education and training,” he added.
Addressing the class of 2015 post-graduate students, who have begun their first semester at WMU, in Malmö, Sweden, Sekimizu said that the university was a cornerstone of global maritime education and training and a vital and integral part of the IMO family.
“At IMO, we are unique among UN agencies to have two affiliated educational institutions – the World Maritime University and the International Maritime Law Institute (in Malta). We are very proud of these and of the many graduates they have produced who now hold positions of responsibility and influence within the maritime community,” he said.