What struck one most at the global migration summit ,organised by the Journalists International Forum for Migration in Abuja a week ago was the video clips shown to the participants by one of the resource persons.
In the video, many of the rescued irregular migrants said that they took to the dangerous adventure so as to find job, to escape from injustice, slavery and hunger in Nigeria.
But their adventures, rather than provide the necessary solace has turned out to be a trip to death and human abuse.
There was a woman who hugged her child so firm to her chest while navigating the Mediterranean sea in her bid to cross to the European countries by all means.
While others who were in the ferry with her wore life jackets, this woman could not because of the child she was carrying.
There were hundreds of underage girls in the ferry and according to the documentary, scores of them had died in boat mishaps.
Their bodies can never be found again. This is the pathetic story of many Nigerians who have lost hope in the country but are daily seeking a better economy elsewhere for respite.
The population of migrants to Europe, according to the keynote speaker at the summit, Professor Ikechukwu Anthony is just a small number of irregular migrants who move withing African continent.
He said that 89 per cent of migrants are intra Africa migrants and that 11 per per cent travel out of Africa by water and through the deserts.
However the regular migrants contribute as high as $22 billion as remittances back home and that the Federal Government should create enabling environment so that Nigerians in the Diaspora can invest in the country.
“If security is not in place, more people will like to migrate. It is a global phenomenon. People want security of life and good jobs”, the Chairman of House of Representative on Internally Displaced Persons, Umar Jega said in his remarks.
To him, most of those who left the country without authentic documents virtually became displaced persons and live as asylums elsewhere.
They may not want to return to their local communities anymore unless there is security of life and job opportunity for them,” Jega said.
He explained that in an ideal situation, the political transition needs to take into account the IDPs even before they will return to their local communities but because there is no adequate provision for such, those who migrate are increasing by the day.
Nigerians are naturally hardworking but many are lazy to develop their mental skill to create job, they prefer to leave the country in search of already made job.
Government must create the atmosphere to bring Nigerians in Diaspora back home to invest.
The government will begin to serve as an agent of migration itself now, using a new diaspora policy, tagged, “Presidential Initiative for Diaspora Excellence’, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian In Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said.
Speaking earlier, the President of JIFORM, Mr. Ajibola Abayomi noted that the organisation was a child of necessity and that it would work to bring about a quality migration policy.
Abayomi explained that it became necessary now for journalists to get involved in the fight against irregular migration by educating members of the public and affecting the government policy in positive ways.