By Solomon Asowata
Benin – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday called for the support of the Nigerian media to curb irregular migration in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Jorge Galindo, Public Information Officer, IOM Nigeria, made the call at a three-day Media Workshop on Migration in Benin.
Galindo said that effective reporting and coverage of migration issues by journalists would help to create the much needed awareness on the danger associated with irregular migration.
He said that since 2001, IOM had assisted over 15,000 stranded Nigerian migrants to return home safely from more than 20 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa through its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programme.
“AVRR supports a variety of migrants who wish to return home, including those who traveled for economic reasons, unaccompanied children and survivors of trafficking.
“IOM interviews them and assists with travel logistics and flights. Many receive protection support as well.
“Once in Nigeria, the most vulnerable are offered additional support through in-kind reintegration assistance to start businesses, study, pay medical fees etc.
“The European Union Trust Fund will cover the reintegration of 3,800 Nigerian returnees over the next three years.’’
Galindo said the IOM would continue to work with the Federal and State Governments as well as other international partners to ensure that returnees are adequately supported and reintegrated.
Also, Miss Adaora Okoli, Communications Assistant, IOM Nigeria, said over 9,000 Nigerians had voluntarily returned from Libya since 2017, with more than 50 per cent of them from Edo State.
Okoli said 17 per cent of the returnees were from Delta while Oyo, Ogun and Imo indigenes completed the top five states.
She said that the IOM was, therefore, intensifying efforts to sensitise the people on the dangers of seeking greener pastures in Europe through the perilous journey across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
According to her, some of the returnees have undergone training in various skills and businesses preparatory to their reintegration, adding that this was being done in collaboration with the state governments.