The Initiative for Youth Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Reintegration (IYAMIDR), has warned that Nigeria would continue to witness an increase in irregular migration of its citizens if issues such as the high unemployment rate , harsh business environment, security challenges, food insecurity and other negative factors are not readily curtailed by the government and other empowerment agencies.
Solomon Okoduwa, executive director of the non-governmental organisation , made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen in Benin, the Edo State capital.
The former aide to Governor Godwin Obaseki on anti-human trafficking issues, explained that asides the post covid-19 challenges which is a global occurrence, the severe economic reality bedevilling Nigeria would also form part of the reason why many Nigerians, particularly the youths, will be seeking greener pastures outside the shores of the country.
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Okoduwa noted that as a result, the activities of some syndicates who lure young people abroad was also increasing, adding that over 55 persons flee Benin weekly by road through Niger Republic to take the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, an activity that has become predominant in other parts of the country.
While bemoaning that many of these illegal migrants die before they get to their destinations, he stated that genuine approach must be developed by the government at all levels to stem the tide.
According to Okoduwa, the migrants narrow their grievances to unemployment and hunger, while others see the widening exchange rate between the naira and other foreign currencies as a compelling force to escape from the country.
“If we must address this menace, there must be a competitive advantage for school leavers whose population is on the rise. Moreso, informal skills should be developed by governments at all levels and private organisations should also help in engaging the youths in empowerment programmes,” he said.
Citing the Okomu Oil youth engagement initiative in Edo State, he noted that Okomu Oil Company accumulated about three thousand returnees from Libya who are currently engaged in productive activities.
He enjoined the government and other corporate bodies as well as private organisations to take a similar step towards engaging more Nigerians and also, create an enabling environment that would be beneficial to their livelihood