As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Migrants’ Day tomorrow, December 18, the Public Relations Officer, Network of Civil Societies against Child Abuse and Labour, Mr. Osita Osmene has declared that there is actually nothing to celebrate as over one million Nigerians are still stranded across countries in Europe, America and Middle East.
In a chat with the Daily Sun, he said many of the stranded Nigerians were in languishing in various prisons across the world while many others were forced into prostitution.
A migrant trainer with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Osemene said migration is expected to bring about development, but lamented that all it has brought upon Nigerians are pains, as most of the victims were either misinformed about what awaits them over there or they were just desperate to leave the shores of Nigeria.
Osemene, who is also the Executive Director, Patriotic Citizens Initiative, an organisation that deals with the plight of Nigerian returned migrants revealed that over the years, a lot of countries in the world, especially African countries, have lost many of their productive youth population to irregular migration as they search for non-existent greener pastures in Europe, America and Middle east.
He stated that before the IOM started evacuating voluntary returnees from Libya back to Nigeria; over 70,000 Nigerians were stranded in Libya, but informed that as at today, the United Nations agency has been able to return over 15,000 Nigerians from Libya since the operation started two years ago.
“A lot have lost their lives on transit due to torture and slavery, while many are stranded in various detention camps. It may interest you to know that the trend is taking several dimensions as youths seek other alternatives and routes to leave the shores of Nigeria. The North African route seems to be very difficult now, so a large number of people are now migrating to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Lebanon oblivious of what awaits them over there,” he stated.
He advised against embarking on irregular migration, saying, “As we mark this year’s World Migrants’ Day, let us remember that migration is good if it is done rightly. So, Nigerians as well as others Africans, who wish to travel out of the continent should endeavour to always engage in safe and regular migration and shun irregular migration or what could be termed desperate journey,” he advised.