Senate advocates strong measures to combat illegal migration

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Senate advocated for more awareness campaigns to be mounted to warn gullible young people against embarking on dangerous journeys.

The Nigerian Senate has urged governments and communities across the country to adopt strong measures to stem the tide of young person’s still undertaking dangerous and illegal journeys out of the country.

It also called for adequate protection for Nigerians in distress in foreign countries and for them to be assisted to return home with their safety, security and rights guaranteed by the Nigerian government and host governments until their status are clarified or returned home.

These are part of the recommendations of a two-day Senate Roundtable on Irregular Migration and Human Trafficking, held in Benin City, Edo State.

Human trafficking
The meeting is aimed at identifying with communities and allowing grassroots access to an important discussion and proffering solutions.

The Senate further called on the global community to improve its responses to the issues of irregular migration and human trafficking.

“There is the need to intensify collaboration and cooperation between the Nigerian government and other governments to strengthen legal frameworks, innovative steps in dealing with repatriation and re-integration matters and investment in the Nigerian economy to improve its capacity to engage its young people who may be tempted to migrate to other countries,” it stated.

The Red Chamber also reiterated the need for intense awareness campaigns to be mounted to “warn gullible young people against embarking on dangerous journeys and to destroy the perceptions that foreign lands are the only route to wealth and happiness.”

It added that law and order and other regulatory agencies must be made more effective, efficient and accountable, “their capacities to prevent, arrest and prosecute traffickers and collaborators in illegal or irregular migration should be strengthened and made evident.”

Improving economy
The stakeholders also stressed the need for the Nigerian economy to radically improve its capacity to grow and provide quality education and skills, jobs and other opportunities for young citizens.

“There are genuine roots of irregular migration and human trafficking located in the failure of young Nigerians to find places in the economy,” it noted.

The roundtable also pointed out urgent improvements in coordination of all government agencies involved in irregular migration and human trafficking.

It stressed that “State governments, particularly younger people, who are more involved in irregular migration and human trafficking, need to invest more in the acquisition of quality education, skills and jobs.

The Senate further urged communities to be more open in acknowledging and addressing where traditional and cultural values have been compromised, perverse mind-sets have taken roots and negative practices are discretely encouraged.

“There is evidence of strong determination to re-generate wholesome values and practices in all our communities, and these must be encouraged,” it noted.

The roundtable in its communiqué issued on Thursday commended the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Senate for the exemplary leadership in leading a national discussion on an issue that has assumed alarming proportions.

It also lauded the Senate for its decision to hold the roundtable in Benin City, Edo State, “thus identifying with a community and allowing grassroots access to an important discussion.”

The Senate, however, acknowledges the role of the Governor of Edo State and his officials, the community and civil society in the success of the roundtable even as it expressed commitment to support all activities and initiatives that will follow from the roundtable.

The roundtable further noted the undertaking of the Senate President that it will not be an end in itself, but the beginning of a series of initiatives and activities involving legislation, improvement in the quality of policy and implementation capacities as well as a re-engineered social response.

Sammie Idika