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Stakeholders urge end to illegal migration


African migrants stand in a queue at the Tripoli branch of the Anti-Illegal Immigration Authority, in the Libyan capital on March 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD TURKIA

Nigerians have reiterated the need for an increased government’s effort to save the life of citizens, especially those trapped in Libya.The call was made following the return of another batch of 171 stranded Nigerians from Zintan District of Libya through the assistance of International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The returnees, who arrived the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via Buraq Airline with registration number 5A-DMG and flight number UZ589, comprised of 70 female adults, including nine pregnant women, 90 male adults, three children and eight infants.

Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihajja, who received the returnees on behalf of the Federal Government, represented by the South-West Zonal Co-ordinator, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, blamed parents who sell their property to raise funds for their children to travel overseas through illegal routes.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had recently stated at a stakeholders’ forum organised by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Abuja that over 7,000 Nigerian immigrants had been repatriated while 2,270 perished in high sea.

She said Nigeria had been identified as mainly a country with thousands of its nationals travelling to Europe through Mediterranean Sea in search of greener pasture yearly and assured that the government has successfully launched national labour migration policy and worked out its implementation strategies for a better migration management in the country.

Also, Founder, Save Our Women and Girls (SOW&G) Foundation, Unyime-Ivy King, said a large number of women seemed to be involved in illegal migration because of the need to take care of their families.She reiterated that there was the need for government to set up skills’ acquisition centres in collaboration with non-governmental agencies to get the women that have returned to acquire skills that can enable them make a living.

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner and analyst on Diaspora affairs, Mr. Ajayi Oluwatosin, noted that it was saddening that in spite of 19 years of democratic rule; Nigeria is still a victim of bad governance.He described the country “as one that offers so little in spite of abundant human and natural resources.”

Also, a media practitioner and public policy analyst, Mr. Moshood Isamotu, said: “We all know that there is economic hardship in the country, but our people here, especially the younger population, are too desperate and lack self-confidence to survive; they want to get rich without following the right channel.”

He, therefore, reiterated the need for government to review the education system in the country to ensure that people acquire skills before leaving school.“Some of these people are barely educated, some of them are not employable, some of them are not competitive, they prefer to lose their pride and get the money. If they can put in all the energy they use there here, I assure you that they will be successful,” he said.

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