Stories by Bode Olagoke
The federal government has taken steps to curb irregular migration plaguing the country by raising a committee to examine and proffer solutions to the underlying factors making such migrations attractive.
A statement from the Ministry of Interior Monday in Abuja also quoted Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki as decrying the level of irregular migration in the state, saying it has reached an “epidemic proportion”.
According to the statement, “irregular migration of Edo State indigenes had reached epidemic proportion, and from the data of returnees kept by the State, more than 63% of trafficked persons were boys, which is an aberration (sic) from the usual practice of trafficking mostly girls”, said Willie Bassey, the Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry.
The governor said his visit to the Interior Ministry in Abuja was to seek federal government’s support on a range of issues especially with regards to stemming the tide of irregular migration, upgrading of prison facilities and maintenance of law and order.
He said he had put in place various measures to curb the phenomenon, including the domestication of national laws on irregular migration, and the setting up of a task force on irregular migration, whose major work is advocacy and rehabilitation of, and provision of skill acquisition to returnees.
He added that 2,700 irregular migrants from the state had so far returned, adding that their rehabilitation was on-going.
Gov. Obaseki said through the debriefing of returnees, the state now has a data base, which would be made available to the federal government.
He also solicited the support of the federal government in the relocation and expansion of the prison in Edo State for proper reformation of prisoners.
Meanwhile, the statement added that the federal government has taken steps to curb irregular migration by raising a committee to examine and proffer solutions to the underlying factors making such migration attractive.
It said the proposed committee, which membership is drawn from Edo State and various frontline Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) – Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would propose ways to contain irregular migration of citizens, especially the youth, from Nigeria to other countries.
For the Minister of Interior Abdulrahman Dambazau, the present situation was a sad and sharp departure from the norm in which Nigeria was a major and attractive destination to migrants, to Nigerians irregularly leaving the country in droves in a desperate bid to migrate to other countries.
The Minister added that irregular migration had become a national security threat that needed collaborative efforts to eliminate.
On prison reforms, he said the federal government had made some headway, and was at present working with state governments to upgrade Nigerian prisons to meet minimum world standard.
He assured the governor that the federal government would partner Edo State to upgrade its prison facilities, maintain law and order, and curb irregular migration in the state.