Nigeria: Migration action must address root causes

The Government of Nigeria has pledged to eradicate the drivers of irregular migration in a bid to deter Nigerian migrants from making the dangerous journey to Europe.

Speaking at the National Migration Dialogue held in Abuja, Nigeria in December 2018, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated the government’s commitment to providing migrants, refugees and IDPs with tools to become self-reliant and linking them with existing social programmes and interventions.

“I am encouraged to know that Nigeria has made efforts in the fight against irregular migration; apart from approving migration policy.” said Buhari.

He said the government, with support from development agencies, has facilitated the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerian migrants from Libya. Over 10, 000 Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya and other countries have returned to Nigeria between April 2017 and October 2018, according to the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

Christian Eiguedo, a Libyan returnee, told The Migrant Project why he attempted the trip to Europe, “I decided to travel abroad when things were really tough in the country. I could not access education or funds to finance my business so I decided to travel to Europe through Libya,” he said.

Like Christian, many irregular migrants from Nigeria are driven to make the dangerous journey to Europe due to high levels of poverty, lack of economic opportunities and pressure from family.  According to the IOM, at least 2,297 people died in the Mediterranean sea or went missing trying to reach Europe in 2018.

As part of ongoing efforts to eradicate the root causes of irregular migration, President Buhari said the government is continuously informing potential migrants of the dangers of irregular migration. The government has also introduced various interventions to help migrants such as investing in infrastructure to create a better environment for entrepreneurs.

“This is all part of efforts aimed to eradicate the drivers of irregular migration such as poverty, unemployment, climate change, conflicts and social inequalities,”  said Buhari.

TMP – 02/02/2019

Photo caption: Over 50 Italy-bound Nigerian migrants rescued at sea.