The United Nations released statistic in 2017 which showed that of over 602,000 Nigerians who attempted to migrate to Europe through the desert, 27,000 of them died in this course.
It is, therefore, to cushion the effect of illegal migration to Europe that the Nigerian Women Association (NWA) Verona, established in Italy and Nigeria, is sensitising Nigerians on the need to migrate to Europe through legal routes.
The association executed its plan at the recent EYEFON Project Road Campaign in Igando area of Lagos State, funded by the Ministry of Interior Italy.
The advocates admitted that going abroad is indeed their right as a people. The Programme Coordinator, Mrs. Abosede Mary Otukpe, however cautioned, “Migration is your right but do it right. When migrating, make sure you don’t go through agent that will tell you there’s a job in Dubai and at the end of the day all is false”.
She soon lamented that a lot of people travel through the dessert and the Mediterranean Sea. According to Otukpe, a large number of them don’t make it alive.
“A lot of people are dying,” she decried. “Not only that, even people that did not die at the end of the day might not be able to get their life back because of the trauma they went through.
“So we just want to tell them that going through the right route is better, you can go through schooling, you can go through family reunion, there are a lot of right platform to go through abroad thank you.”
Proffering a solution to the situation, the coordinator emphasised the need to find out the right information. She encouraged prospective travellers to approach the Ministry of Labour Resource Centre in Ikoyi area of Lagos. “You can get valid information from there so that you don’t go through wrong agents.”
In the words of the President of the NWA Verona, Dr. Victoria Ajibola, they have been working for six years around combating human trafficking.
She narrated their experience in Italy where their association is based. “A lot of our Nigerian citizens, especially under age young girls are being forced into this country and taken as slaves.
“We help these girls into integrational and social programmes. We started in 2013 to help those girls who wish to return home. This was done in partnership with he International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with many local authorities.”
At NWA they help these girls return home, and settle them down to start up their lives in Nigeria. They also empower the returnees with skills like hairdressing, shoe making, and tailoring among others.