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President Jonathan dithers on national migration policy

By HUGO ODIOGOR

President Goodluck Jonathan may have dithered on the introduction of  a national policy on migration, within and outside Nigeria which is aimed at optimizing the gains of the Diaspora community.

The draft policy was finalized in February 2006 but former president Olusegun Obasanjo who initiated the policy could not  bring it into fruity  before leaving office on May 29, 2007, while Yar‘Adua administration was bogged down by the ill health of the late president.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that Dr. Jonathan has dithered on the policy as he went ahead to inaugurate a Diaspora commission to handle the challenges faced by Nigerians in foreign lands, but Professor Emeritus, Aderanti Adepoju told Sunday Vanguard that the issue of managing of movement of persons within and outside national and international borders is much wider than what the Diaspora commission can handle.

The former university of Don who has worked for many UN agencies on migration said Nigeria is the first African country to complete  work on a national policy with input from ministries and other relevant Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that have linkages with migration, to enable the country leverage on the benefits of migration as well as deal with the strictures associated with it.

The Obasanjo administration initiated the policy with the aim move towards evolving an organized framework to manage the movement of managing the entry and exit of people within and outside Nigeria.

It was also to encourage Nigerians who want to migrate to be fully equipped and guided on areas of migration challenges and opportunities in foreign countries.

Prof. Adepoju  said “the National Policy on Migration was also designed to address the issue of trafficking of persons, who are lured abroad to be engaged in undignified labour, especially women who end up as commercial sex workers.

It was also to ensure that skilled professionals who want to migrate to other countries are made to enter into valid contracts that would secure their interest and welfare in their country of destination”.

The migration expert said bureaucratic tardiness and lack of understanding of issues on migration are responsible for the president’s dithering on promulgation of the policy on internal and external movement of people within and outside their national borders.

At present, the government has assigned responsibility of management of migration to the National Commission of Refugees, which in the words of Prof. Adepoju; “diminishes migration issues” but most disturbing is the fact that several ministries and agencies have been fighting to be the implementers of the migration policy”.


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