In recent times, there have been several reports of deportation of Nigerians from different parts of the world, including neighbouring African countries. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, report revealed that about 1,134 Nigerians illegally residing abroad have been forcefully returned home this year.
They were deported from Libya, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Mali, the United States and some member countries of the European Union.
The figure may increase because many countries are increasingly becoming intolerant of other nationalities due to internal economic crises and global recession. Rise in the incidences of xenophobia may also contribute to this.
Most of the deportees are youths and young adults under the age of 45years..
The motivation for unending migration has largely been attributed to the prevailing harsh economic situation in the country and search for self-imagined better opportunities abroad. Unfortunately, many have drowned in the Mediterranean in their desperate bid to get to Europe through Libya and other North African countries.
Those who are not deported sometimes fall victim of xenophobic attacks and extra-judicial killings. Others are languishing in various prisons abroad over sundry offences, sometimes bordering on trumped up charges.
The Federal Government’s youths empowerment and poverty alleviation scheme appears insufficient to address the unemployment situation in the country. A lot more still needs to be done in this regard to reduce the migration of young Nigerians in search of elusive golden fleece abroad.
Nigeria is a big brother in Africa. It is a national embarrassment for her citizens to be deported from countries that should be looking up to Nigeria for assistance. Hostile treatment meted out on Nigerians in foreign lands, especially fellow African countries, constitute a serious indictment on the nation and its leadership. It diminishes our posturing as the largest economy on the continent.
The Federal Government should be more proactive in tackling the daunting challenge of youths unemployment. The age bracket of the deportees is disturbing, considering the army of unemployed young persons in the country. There should be a sustainable scheme that guarantees job creations and employment opportunities for the youths. There should be a conscious enlightenment programme geared towards encouraging young people to have faith in the country’s potentials. Urgent steps need to be taken to reduce the figure that put the rate of youths unemployment at 14.2% in June 2017. The statistic has risen for nine consecutive quarters, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
We commend NAPTIP, NEMA, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM and others for their unwavering commitment in preventing illegal migration and rehabilitating deportees. We urge them to partner with relevant private organisations for more effective operations.
We call on the Federal Government to live up to the responsibility of encouraging young Nigerians who have no business going abroad to stay at home.