MIGRATION: Nothing less than Thirty-four thousand, six hundred and ninety-four stranded Nigerian migrants have been assisted to return home from April 2017 till date through the collaboration of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
IOM Awareness Raising Programme Officer, Cyprine Cheptepkeny, dropped the hint during a media training on Amplifying Women’s Voices in Migration Decision Making in Lagos yesterday.
Cheptepkeny said that out of the 34,694 assisted voluntary returnees, 19,579 were male and 15,115 were female.
She said that the returnees were evacuated from Libya, Chad, Morocco, Mali, Germany, Netherlands, and Ghana, among others.
According to her, 28,204 survivors were reintegrated, among which 16, 264 were male, and 11,940 were female.
Cheptepkeny said that reintegration was a core activity of IOM Nigeria which assists migrants willing to return home and supports their reintegration.
She said that the returnees received in-kind reintegration assistance, including vocational education and training to help them start an income-generating activity of their choice.
The IOM official noted that the dynamics of the migration pattern had shifted, as data had shown an increased number of women migrating in the last few years.
She said that the media was critical in framing the migration narrative, advising media practitioners to ensure stigma-free language, promote balanced, inclusive news coverage, and ensure media standards and ethics.
Head, of the Migration Resource Centre Mrs. Maureen Ovie, said that data showed that 45 percent of women travel independently, saying the present trend indicates the statistics would increase.
Mrs. Ovie noted that many women have unrealistic expectations, and lack proper information on the migration process and procedures thereby exposing themselves to exploitation.
She said that the government plays a critical role in increasing awareness of regular migration, counseling, and training to boost employability and a gender-responsive environment.
According to her, the government will ensure fair recruitment practices and monitoring of private recruitment agencies, adding that recent findings showed that quacks hide under recruitment to traffick persons.
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Head of Migration (Southwest), National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Ms. Ijeoma Ifeobu, said the federal government was working assiduously to ensure the right messages are promoted to reduce irregular migration.
Ms. Enitan Ibironke, a lawyer and migration counselor, said many people risk their lives attempting to reach Europe through irregular migration.
Ms. Ibironke advised the media to focus on developing additional tools, resources, and digital content on various platforms to assist women make informed decisions.
Mrs. Rita Folawewo, Executive Director, of Girls Inspired Development Network (GIDN), said the training seeks to enhance the capabilities of journalists in Lagos in amplifying women’s voices in migration decision-making processes.
She said that the training addresses challenges faced by the media in strengthening the discourse; highlighting resources, tools, and opportunities for the media, and improving documentation of women’s stories for justice and human rights.