International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday said that community theatre was a vital tool in the fight against irregular migration and human trafficking in the country.
IOM’s Awareness Raising Officer, Cuprine Cheptepkeny, said this at the official flag off of Community Theatre in the Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State.
According to Cheptepkeny, community theatre is an awareness raising approach aimed at highlighting the dangers of irregular migration and human trafficking.
“Community theatre uses communication for development which aims at helping potential migrants make informed decisions about their migratory journey.
“It helps to increase the level of awareness among the community regarding the safe migration process, the challenges associated with reintegration process and involve them through community led awareness raising.
“Community theatre involves returnees, volunteers under the Migrant as Messengers project as well as students who are brought together and trained by professional film makers in key tenets on scripting and acting.
“Upon completion, the troupe organise the play in their local communities so as raise awareness to those at the grassroots level,” she said.
She disclosed that IOM in collaboration with the Federal Government had assisted 21,000 migrants’ return to the country from Libya and other destination countries in Europe.
“As we all know, the fight against human trafficking and irregular migration is not a task of an individual agency but rather, it involves all of us working together.
“We believe it is through our joint efforts and contributions that we can be able to reduce the incidents of irregular migration and achieve sustainable reintegration of returning migrants.” she said.
She urged members of the public to also report suspicious cases of human trafficking to the appropriate authorities.
In his remarks, Mr Waheed Ishola, Lagos State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), noted that the awareness and campaign programme would help in the fight of eradicating human trafficking.
“Awareness programme like this would aid in fighting this menace because it would enlighten people on the dangers of irregular migration.
“Traffickers tend to prey on people because they do not know the dangers and consequences of this particular action; so this, would help in bridging the gap,” he said.
Mr Wasiu Adesina, Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government, advised the public to shun irregular migration.
“Everyone has the right to migrate to wherever they want to migrate to but it must be done in the right way so as to avoid issues that can easily be prevented by doing the right thing.
“The dangers of irregular migration are severe as most people who are involved in it have the tendency of being victims of human trafficking,” he said.
Jerry Adelu, a returnee, warned people to desist from such activities, saying “the suffering that I went through should serve as a guide for people so that they can learn from our mistakes and lessons.
“Migration must always be done through the right means as the irregular way would bring pain and suffering.” he said.