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Nigeria to witness increase in irregular migration, says NGO boss

By Igbaugba Ehigimetor[NAN]


The Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Reintegration (IYAMIDR), said situations in the country would likely drive many Nigerian into irregular migration.

Mr. Solomon Okoduwa, Executive Director of IYAMIDR, who is a former aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Illegal Migration, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Tuesday.

He noted that a part of the post COVID-19 challenges, the current economic situation would also form part of the reason why many Nigerians will be seeking greener pastures outside.

Okoduwa said that the activities of some syndicates who lure young people abroad was also increasing the act, adding that no fewer than 55 persons leaves Benin weekly by road to Europe through Libya.

While regretting that most of these people die before they get to their destination, he said genuine approach must be developed by government at all levels to stem the tide.

According to him, “These migrants narrow their grievances to unemployment while some others see the exchange rate between the Naira and Euro as a compelling force.

“The current hardship in the country occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic has also in no small means, contributed to this.

“As I speak with you between 55 to 60 persons leave Benin on a weekly basis by road to Libya through Niger Republic to take the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

“If we must address this menace, there must be a competitive advantage for school leavers. Skills should also be developed. Government at all levels must pay intention to issues of illegal migration.”

He said that genuine initiatives must be taken to stem the tide of irregular migration among youths in the country, adding that the Edo Okomu Oil was a good example.

“Okomu Oil engaged about three thousand returnees from Libya and truly, this is the way to go. These people who are now productively engaged will not think of embarking on the risky journey again.

“Government and other individuals or organisations can also use the Okomu example to engage these people who are mostly youths.

“The European countries should also not dole out money to secure the Mediterranean; instead, such funds should be channeled towards helping the endemic countries and communities in Sub Saharan Africa.”

Okoduwa, however, stressed that the activities of illegal migrants were not only restricted to roads.

“There are many more who leave by air transport than by road and you will never know this. They leave through visas procured through other countries,” he stated. (NAN)

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