By Maureen Okon
Abuja – Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has called for collaboration between it and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with a view to addressing the challenges of irregular migration.
Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa called for the collaboration when she received in her office in Abuja, a three-man delegation from ILO comprising Ms Lotte Kejer, Chief Technical Adviser (CTA) on Labour Migration, Francesco Panziga, ILO Consultant, and Iskandar Kholov, ILO Technical Officer.
According to the NIDCOM chairman, the issue of migration has been at the forefront of discourse and has led to a situation where many Nigerians are tricked into believing that job opportunities awaited them abroad only to end up defrauded.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “So how can we make irregular migration regular? You have a lot of people promised jobs abroad but it turns out to be false.
“How can we then change the narrative behind irregular migration to say that Nigerians can only be engaged legally abroad?
“It seems so hard but it can be done.
“With your focus on the issue and also your preparation of a policy document is it certain we can ensure regular migration.
“A lot of people migrate in search of `greener pasture’ through jobs but it turns out to be a tragedy and frustration.
“So, we believe that by working with you and with other EU countries, regular migration is achievable,’’ she said.
She expressed appreciation to the ILO team specifically handling migration and assured it that the commission would work collaboratively with it to sensitise citizens to the virtues of regular migration.
“ We also count on you and your expertise which will help us develop our own structure, ways and means to ensure that a diaspora is a person who is residing in another country legitimately and who has lived abroad over the years and has an address.
Speaking earlier, ILO Adviser Ms Kejer said that the organisation was working closely with migration experts with assistance from the European Union (EU) and other partners with a view to tackling the issue of irregular migration.
“ILO is working to address the issue of irregular migration supported by our partners such as the EU and other partners.
“The project I am working on is to address the issue and also promote regular migration and opportunities.
“We know that the awareness-raising has been going on in Nigeria and in other countries for a long time now but you still find out that people are desperately looking for jobs outside this country just to find out it is false.
“We all know the consequences of this. So we are here to help Nigeria and also other ECOWAS member states to work on the challenges in an effective way,’’ she said.
According to her, the challenge that Africa has and Nigeria, in particular, is that the economy has not developed enough jobs for the youth.
She added that it was for that reason that many developed the interest to migrate to other climes notwithstanding the repercussions.
She said it was that narrative that ILO “seeks to change” in line with its labour and employment mandates to address the challenge.
Speaking also, ILO Consultant Panziga said that he was working on a labour and migration-related project that would explore how migrant workers’ skills could be developed further.
Panziga added that the visit by the ILO delegation was to have an understanding of the commission’s plans toward helping diasporas to progress and creating a link between such persons living abroad and their country of origin so that they could contribute to its development.
“We want to see which way the skills development can improve migrants’ growth.
“So this exchange of information that we received from the chairperson of NIDCOM will be vital and will be incorporated in our policy document that will be produced soon,’’ he said.