Seventy per cent of people irregularly migrating from Nigeria are from Edo State, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.
UNHCR’s Senior Liaison Officer, Amah Assiama-Hillgartner, stated this in Benin, the state capital, during the agency’s Telling the Real Story (TRS) meeting on Thursday.
She described Nigeria as the country of transit and trafficking of irregular emigrants, with over 8,000 returnees from Libya so far.
“The data available to us show that a lot of the departures or people who claimed to have left from Nigeria claimed Edo as their state of origin,” Assiama-Hillgartner said.
“Edo State seems to be the centre or one of the bases for processing for people to leave Nigeria.”
UNHCR’s Senior Protocol Officer, Markus Topp, also speaking at the event said migrants needed adequate information not to be misled by traffickers.
“We are not advocating the restriction of people’s movement but are letting the intending emigrants know what they will be subjected to,” he added.
“So, the choice is theirs. We are advocating that there should be more legal pathways for people to move and there should be more information about the legal pathways, in order not to cross the desert.”
Topp added: “We are taking the TRS project to town halls, schools, churches, mosques and other public gatherings for enlightenment.
“UNHCR is making sure that if people must move overseas, they should do so with safety and dignity.”
Telling the Real Story is a community-based platform disseminating stories about the extraordinary journeys made by refugees and asylum seekers to Europe. The purpose of the Telling the Real Story platform is to allow Eritreans, Nigerians and Somalis who have made the journey to Europe to share their stories about the journey and the situation in destination countries.
More information about UNHCR’s Telling the Real Story at: http://tellingtherealstory.org/