Nigeria’s efforts to tackle irregular migration

Nigeria has become synonymous with irregular migration. In discussions on irregular migration throughout the world, Nigeria’s name surely features prominently.

This has attracted a negative image of the country and many innocent Nigerians, particularly those on business trips, have had many difficult experiences in foreign countries, including in African countries, as a consequence of the vast numbers of Nigerians that are attempting to get to Europe through irregular migration.

Moved by this disturbing trend, the Federal Government of Nigeria recently established a committee to address the issue of irregular migration and human trafficking.
The committee, jointly headed by the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr. Mohammed Babandede and the Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe is mandated to propose possible solutions to issues of irregular migration and human trafficking.

The committee was inaugurated by the Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retired), who has mandated the committee to look at all issues of irregular migration and human trafficking. “Do not forget the fact that Nigeria is a sub-transit country, so we are also receiving as we are having ours going out,” he told the committee members.
“So, look at all those issues, how to deal with them, particularly as they relate to Edo State, because most of the traffickers are sourced from there, according to statistics,” he added.
“It is not just trafficking within the Mediterranean Sea; we also have trafficking within the country and the region and even within the continent,” the minister said.

The Gusau Institute, a non-governmental organisation, said that getting to the root causes of irregular migration in Nigeria was the only way out of the problem. The Institute recommended that the misconception that more and better opportunities always exist abroad should be corrected through an aggressive media campaign.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the lead government agency on international relations, should become more engaged in migration and mobility issues, including working closely with the international community,” The Gusau Institute said in a report following the first two sessions of the GI Roundtable Series.

The Gusau Institute’s reports stated that economic development remained a key factor for tackling irregular migration in Nigeria, even as it called for the creation of a broad-based synergy among local stakeholders, security agencies, and government establishments, charged with the responsibility of curtailing human trafficking and irregular migration. “In this regard, reliable and actionable intelligence sharing is crucial, if the operations of criminal kingpins and human traffickers are to be disrupted or ended.”

The report further stated: “Regarding the transit route for irregular migrants through Niger, the Minister of Interior should initiate dialogue with the neighboring Nigerien government on how to address and curb the rising number of migrants transiting Niger.”
“The repatriation and re-integration of returnees should be supported in such a manner as to encourage the affected persons to return home and re-start their lives again with dignity,” said the GI report.

TMP – 16/05/2018

Photo Credit: senatepresident.gov.ng. The Nigerian government is collaborating with the EU to curb irregular migration.