The UN Migratory agency has called on Nigerians to embark on orderly and safe migration, to promote economic development in the country.
The call was made at its sixth edition of the Global Migration Film Festival, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Global Migration Film Festival is an annual event organised by IOM, to bring the world together to share migration stories, enable migrant journeys to be told through the eyes of the migrants themselves.
The goal of the festival is to pave the way for greater discussion around one of the greatest phenomena of our time.
Discussants at the film festival pointed out that irregular migration caused by poverty, unemployment, insecurity and instability is eating deep into the country and impacting the psychology of affected children, youths, and women, which needs urgent attention.
National Project Officer, Labour Migration and Diaspora, IOM Nigeria, Mrs Elizabeth Poage, noted that despite the negative effect of irregular migration on the victim, family and society, regular migration benefits the society, as it contributes immensely to national development.
“Until all these issues such as socio-economic, political issues are addressed, there is no way forward in tackling the irregular migration. The government needs to do a lot. There is a need for coordination among relevant stakeholders. There is a need for strengthened capabilities to handle or manage migration and sustain awareness.”
According to the, Executive Director of Africa Youth Growth Foundation, Dr Arome Salifu,
“lack of jobs, search for greener pastures and insecurity are some of the factors responsible for forcing many Nigerians to seek alternatives, including irregular migration. I urged all Nigerians to seek correct information from relevant authorities before setting out. Also, those seeking to migrate should acquire relevant skills beyond tertiary education as well as learn the language of the country of destination.”
Dr Salifu, stressed that the “Government needs to prioritise migration as an option to get out of economic challenges. If not, we would keep looking at migration as a challenge. If the government will consider it as an option and an area to explore, all they need to do is to standardise and certify our skills to conform with the country’s specific labour standard. Now that way, Nigeria can explore bilateral, multilateral labour instruments, agreements and resolutions to allow Nigerians to leave Nigeria officially to work in those countries. “
The Executive Director, Policy Consults, Mr Jide Olatoye, stressed that “ there is need for Nigeria to begin to see migration as an economic move that can be supported by the country to trigger national development. irregular migration would only persist when push factors of migration in Nigeria are addressed”.
The festival featured films and documentaries that capture the promise and challenges of migration and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities.
The movies featured at the festival were “The Lodger” – is about Integration; Identity and Diaspora. A satirical comedy-drama, about a Nigerian couple, who abandons successful careers back home in Nigeria and migrates into the UK as highly skilled migrants.
And The “Hide” Is about – Gender-related issue; Human Trafficking; Labor Migration; Migrants Health; Community/Family rejection; Migration and Climate Change.