Migration: Republic of Niger decries effect on economy

  Adoba Echono, Abuja

Map of West Africa

The Republic of Niger, has decried the negative effect of irregular migration on its economy and the security of the country.

The Director General, Department of Civil Registration, Migration and Refugees, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Niger, Malangoni Ibrahim, raised the alarm in Niamey during the ongoing three-day Parliamentary Sensitisation Forum on Migration in West Africa.

He said migrants’ negative impact on the country was of utmost concern adding that Niger had appropriate laws put in place for the management of migration and human trafficking, including strategies to combat irregular migration.

Mr. Ibrahim also said a national committee had been put in place in whereby members gather periodically to discuss the problematic effect of migration which is currently at the ministerial, ambassadorial and experts level.

He however said the experience of Niger regarding migrants using the country as a route had been unpleasant.

“It is affecting us negatively because the economy is not performing. People are passing and they are not paying tax. “

“People are passing irregularly, that is not fair, that is not correct, it is impacting negatively on the security first. Many people are passing. Our country is too vast that you cannot control everything,” Ibrahim disclosed.

He explained that the negative effect of irregular migration on the economy of Niger was evident in Dirkou, north part of Agadez where migrants use ghetto rooms without paying tax.

The Director General also said the best way out of the situation was to promote legal migration through an elaborate strategy.

The First Vice President, Regional Council of Agadez, Mr. Sidi Sidi Aklou, said Niger is a migratory crossroad for the populations of Western, Eastern and Central Africa, adding that it is a historical crossroad of civilisations, an asylum and protection space for migrants.

Mr. Aklou also said the key geographical position between the sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb region of Agadez made it a hospitable and transit destination for migrants going towards the Maghreb and European countries and vice versa.

“Transit migration has been an alternative to the cessation of tourism activities and a niche for the socioeconomic integration of the ex-combatants of the former armed resistance through the 1995 and 1997 peace agreements,” Aklou said.

Mr. Aklou further said the increased migration flows was as a result of the collapse of the Libyan state, leading to transit migration and the rush for gold gave way to the cross-border circular migration.

He added that the migration flows are often mixed, comprising of people who are leaving their countries of origin for social, economic, security or political reasons.

Mr. Aklou explained that these movements of the populations which have been intensifying because of different migrations are giving rise to overpopulation in both the country and the already vulnerable Agadez region.

He further said this has also caused more difficulties in terms of meeting the water, health, education, energy, hygiene/sanitation and safety needs of the people.

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