As Nigeria continues the battle against irregular migration, a German Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), has advised Nigerian government to focus on economic development to end the menace.
Mr Vladimir Kreck, Country Representative of KAS, advised the government on Wednesday in Abuja during a workshop on “Migration- current trends part two’’.
Kreck said that poverty and unemployment were identified as the major root causes why many Nigerians embarked on irregular migration to Europe and other western countries in search of greener pastures.
He said that during the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Nigeria in August, the main topic discussed with President Muhammadu Buhari was on irregular migration and how to stop irregular migrants from leaving the country for Europe.
Kreck said that both leaders agreed that it was a joint responsibility to work together and tackle the menace.
The Nigerian government, he said, must focus on economic development that can create job opportunities.
“This is probably an important issue the government of Nigeria must focus on apart from the security issues in the country.’’
It is important to raise attention for the joint responsibility of Nigeria and Germany to tackle, find measures against the migration flows toward Europe, he said.
He said that it had been observed that many tragic disasters happen to people while on transit to Europe illegally in search of greener pasture.
“Poverty and unemployment are the root causes of irregular migration especially in Nigeria, a country that has over 200 million inhabitants and also a very high poverty and unemployment rate.
“Of course, people will like to seek prosperity in other countries, leaving Nigeria to Europe’’, Kreck said.
According to the KAS representative Nigeria ranks third on people’s migration to Germany after Afghanistan and Syria.
Also speaking, Mr Osita Osemene, Executive Director, Patriotic Citizen Initiative, a Non-governmental Organisation, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to tackle unemployment, poverty, lack of basic amenities and the enable environment for businesses to thrive.
He urged the government to combat irregular migration by creating greater avenues for regular migration, economic opportunities, address corruption and abuse at border post.
Oseme listed other measures to include; educational campaigns from primary schools in order to deter them from early ages, synergising with faith based, traditional and political leadership in sensitisation campaigns.
He said that once all those challenges were tackled, Nigerians would not see reasons to embark on dangerous journeys in quest for what they could also get in their country.
Speaking from experience as a former irregular migrant, Osemene said that he embarked on the journey to Europe irregularly out of desperation as he could not get a job in Nigeria.
“From my experience I have discovered that young Nigerians run out because of desperation like what affected me.
“Before I left, I was a graduate but I did not have a job, the next option was to travel to Europe based on friends’ advice and I became vulnerable to some of these people.
“First of all, I was given a visa but the visa was fake which is what other victims like me experience and so I decided to go through the irregular routes through Libya,’’ Osemene said.
He said that his experience had become a life-saver for many Nigerians as he had been carrying out sensitisation campaigns through his Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to enlighten youths on the dangers of irregular migration.
Osemene pointed out that migration was not a bad thing when done in the right manner because migration fosters economic development.
He urged the youth wishing to travel out of Nigeria to go through the proper channel and avoid going through touts in order not to fall victims to human traffickers.