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IOM rescues 29,000 irregular Nigerian migrants in five years

By Monday Osayande, Asaba 
10 December 2022   |   5:27 am
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), says it has assisted 29,000 irregular migrants back to Nigeria, since April 2017.

[FILE] Migrants sing national anthem in a bus upon arrival from a chartered aircraft that returned 155 stranded Nigerian migrants from Libya at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, on March 23, 2017. One hundred and fity-five Nigerian migrants arrived at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, returning voluntarily to the country after being stranded for several months in Libya, trying to reach Europe. Their repatriation was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), says it has assisted 29,000 irregular migrants back to Nigeria, since April 2017.

The IOM Awareness Raising Officer (Nigeria), Cyprine Cheptepkeny, disclosed this yesterday, at the campaign launch of “Korrect Waka” and official unveil of its communication materials in Owa-Alero community, Ika North-East Local Council of Delta State.

She said: “These communication materials will be used to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration and trafficking in persons, as well as promote safe migration and local opportunities in the state.”

Cheptepkeny said the returnees were brought back home with the joint efforts of the Federal Government. The move, according to her, was not only meant to better Nigeria, but also help IOM’s current drive to implementing the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships to Achieve Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS) Initiative funded by the Government of Netherlands.

He said: “COMPASS is a global initiative designed to protect people on the move, combat trafficking and smuggling , support dignified return, and promote sustainable reintegration of migrants.” 

The  Awareness Raising Officer, told the traditional rulers, students, community representatives, women and some returnees who were at the occasion that “IOM is implementing community-level sensitisation intervention that would be developed through a consultative process, involving returnees, local community representatives, relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and other stakeholders.”

To reduce the incidences of irregular migration, she said was not a tea party. “So, all hands must be on deck, believing that with partnership with government, community, parents and other stakeholders we can be able to stand against irregular migration in Nigeria.”

Delta State Director, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Mr. Chris Anyabuine, appealed to all to join hands in the fight against irregular migration, lamenting that Nigeria has lost many souls and resources over the years.

While commending IOM for championing the course, taking the message from the city to local communities, Anyabuine said a lot had been said about Nigeria, as a result of illegal migration.

He called on migrants to pass through due process to avoid the danger associated with irregular migration. Obi of Akumazi Kingdom, Henry Ezeagwukpo Jegbefume 1, who spoke through his chief, Peter Enuji, the Obanweiye of Akumazi, advised against illegal migration as many are suffering today on account of seeking Greener pasture abroad.

Some returnees, who lamented taking the risk in the first place, said they were beaten, forced to drink their urine and stayed for days without food; even as many perished in the Red Sea, in an attempt to cross to Europe.