A non-governmental organization, Mothers of Earth International Foundation, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish in place a well thought out policy on Voluntary Return Assisted Programme not only to assist Nigerians stranded abroad to return home, but to also be well integrated back into the society.
Hajia Hafsatu Yusuf, the founder of the NGO said this at a recent press briefing in Abuja while lamenting that attempts to seek for green pasture outside the country have only yielded bitter experiences for many Nigerians.
She also called for the establishment of displacement tracking mechanism, especially in the North East and other flash points in Nigeria, rejig of re- jig social intervention Programme to ensure the inclusion of the most vulnerable and development of a communication line between Diaspora commission, Foreign affairs ministry and Nigeria embassies abroad to tackle the problems of illegal migration and facilitate voluntary returns and integration of Nigerian migrants.
Hajia Yusuf said the maltreatment of Nigerians outside the country, especially in countries like South-Africa, Libya, Italy, Spain among others should be a thing of serious concern to government.
She noted that while human capital theory indicates that migration occurs as a result of attempts by individuals to maximize their lifetime income by relocating to a new place, it is doubtful if this has been the experience for over 40 percent of Nigerians who have left their country in search of greener pastures.
“As significant number of Nigerians in their thousands may have gone out of the country, in an attempt to get a better life, which severally turned out to be a bitter life, as many get caught up with traffickers, this is reportedly too rampant in what is now referred to as “TRIANGLE OF SHAME” at the NIGER/ CHAD /NIGERIA borders and other routes.
“Available records revealed that not less than 8,000 Nigerians may have been deported from Libya, Spain and Italy, aside those that died under questionable circumstances, this calls for concerns.
“It may interest you to note that many Nigerians with illegal status are exposed to possible spread of infectious diseases, they may be trafficked for exploration which may include sexual exploitation, involved in criminal activities, shocks or physiological trauma of challenges encountered and discrimination among others.” Hajia Yusuf said.
She added that investigation by Mothers of the Earth International Foundation indicated that some of causes of the migration by Nigerians to other countries include lack of employment, lack of social safety intervention nets, poor governance, and lack of social justice, equity and fair play in our society.
Hajia Yusuf revealed that the NGO planned to look at how the identified problems can be tackled headlong during the 3rd edition of its forum on economic and social effects of women migration in Africa to be held in Abuja early next year, where stakeholders will come together to brain storm on how best to reduce the avoidable migrations.
While appreciating efforts, supports and interventions of international agencies and government in tackling problems associated with migration, she urged all stakeholders to step up the assistance.