Dec 18 marks International Migrants Day. Its aim is to foster understanding – rather than fear of – one of the world’s most vulnerable and demonized groups. In that spirit, Nigeria has launched a campaign which promotes safe migration. CGTN’s Deji Badmus has more.
The latest group of Nigerian migrants flown back from Libya had been trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe – but failed.
Many spent months under trying conditions in Libyan detention centers before the International Organization for Migration, or IOM, came to their rescue and brought them home.
More than 3,500 Nigerian migrants have been flown back from Libya this year alone. Many are still trapped there, and many more are still embarking on the dangerous trip.
In partnership with the Nigerian government, the IOM is now embarking on a massive information campaign to educate Nigerians on the dangers of migration and why migrants should do it the right way.
In the coming days, campaign messages will hit the streets of Nigeria providing citizens with better insights about migration.
In a speech, the IOM’s program manager, Abrham Tamrat, said, “I call upon all stakeholders, government counterparts, civil society organizations, community members and migrants, former migrants to work together to implement this global campact. Let us do our share to implement this very beautifully-designed framework that will help us reap the benefits of migrations going forward.”
“When you migrate irregularly, you have the tendency to fall victim to be trafficked,” explained Alex Oturu of the National Commission for Refugees. “You have the tendency to fall victim to slavery. You have the tendency to be exploited labor-wise and sexually. These are the dangers when you migrate irregularly. And then of course, your human rights will not be protected.”
Experts believe lack of information is at the heart of why most people embark on the dangerous journey to Europe through the desert and the sea. The enlightenment campaign in Nigeria is therefore expected to make a difference.
“This is going to inform the community on how they can source reliable information, where they can find it, how they should make informed decisions,” Tamrat said.
The IOM also organizes entrepreneurial training sessions for returnees as part of their reintegration process. Some returnees are now advocates against irregular migration and are expected to play a crucial part in the campaign.
Alex Nowrasteh discusses International Migrant Day
CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Alex Nowrasteh, senior immigration policy analyst at the Libertarian Cato Institute, about International Migrant Day.