Migrants reintegrated in Nigeria

A significant number of Nigerian migrants who have been repatriated from Libya after failed attempts to cross the sea to Europe are currently receiving training to readjust psychologically, socially and economically back into Nigerian society.

Having gone through various harrowing experiences in the desert, Libya and various other countries, there is need for them to recover, readapt and become equipped to play active roles in the Nigerian economy.

In Libya, many migrants were criticised for being involved in the arms or drug trades, robbery and sex work. Some returnees were allegedly used as slaves before they were brought back to Nigeria.

The difficult experiences of these returnees are not written on their faces, and that is why the training is so urgent. It is hoped that after the process, returnees will begin to see themselves as agents of change. The training will also seek to discourage further irregular migration.

According to Osita Osemene, the lead trainer at the ongoing reintegration training programme for Nigerian returned migrants, over 700 returnees have benefitted from the training so far.

The programme is jointly sponsored by the European Union and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Initiative on Migrants’ Protection and is coordinated and monitored by the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

The main purpose of the training, according to Osemene, is to refocus the mindset of the returnees to enable them to reintegrate into society and be able to fully benefit from the process. This eventually provides those who have successfully completed the training with means to build or re-build their livelihoods.

According to Osemene, those who have successfully completed the training programme are profiled according to potential career options and grouped before they are finally settled. The lead trainer stated, “We are still having difficulties in ensuring that greater numbers of trained migrants get access to the support, he said. “They are put into various groups of businesses that they have identified to get involved in, such as welding, hairdressing, furniture making, fish farming, and buying and selling among others.”

Osemene went on to explain that about three to five people are put in one group and once they are able to provide documents like a utility bill, national identity cards, shops or empty land, as well as the invoice from the suppliers of the materials they want to use for the business, then IOM releases the money to the supplier, who in turn supplies the materials to them.

Returnees are monitored by the funding agencies through the Federal Government of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons to ensure that whatever venture the returnees choose to explore is sustained.

TMP – 07/06/2018