FG, IOM Facilitate Return of 21,000 Nigerian Migrants

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By Adibe Emenyonu

The federal government, in collaboration with the International Organisation Migration (IOM), has facilitated the voluntary return of over 21,000 Nigerians stranded in Libya, Niger, Mali, Europe and other countries.

The Head of Sub-office of IOM in Benin-city, Edo State, Wintana Tarekegn, who disclosed this during a town hall meeting on ‘Safe Migration’ held in the city yesterday, noted that the body was currently implementing several awareness-raising intervention in the country with other organisations.

Tarekegn said: “IOM in coordination with the federal government has facilitated the voluntary return of over 21,000 Nigerians migrants stranded in Libya, Niger, Mali, European countries and other transit and destination countries.

“The IOM, the United Nations migration agency, is currently implementing several awareness-raising interventions in Nigeria, including Migrants as Messengers (MaM), designed to create positive behavioural change among potential migrants and their families and friends to make safe and informed migration related decisions as well as promote the positive impact returning migrants bring to their home communities.”

According to her, the town hall meeting was to establish ways on how to integrate migration discussions in schools in order to bring about increased knowledge and awareness on the risk of irregular migration, human trafficking, and smuggling of migrants.

Speaking on ‘Integrating Migration Discussions in Schools through Peer-to-Peer-Approach’, the Project Assistant Migration Management/Awareness Raising, Mr. Elijah Elaigwu, said the IOM found out from their research that most students from various schools don’t know much about irregular migration, and thus, decided to take the messages to their door steps at schools.

Elaigwe noted that IOM has trained 43 volunteers in Edo, Lagos and Delta States with a view of discouraging the act of irregular migration in the country.