A university lecturer, Dr Olawale Lawal, has urged the Nigerian government to take urgent steps to address living conditions in the country, to stem illegal migration by citizens.
Lawal, a lecturer in diplomacy and foreign policy at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo made the appeal in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that if conditions at home were conducive for survival, people may not want to take the risks involved in illegal migration.
“The desperation of these classes of migrants, mostly youths, is traceable to the deplorable standards of living at home.
“If government is able to provide the basic necessities of life for its citizens, they will not want to leave the country in such unconventional ways as crossing the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Our youths should, however, be encouraged to stay back and help to salvage the country because those places they are desperate to travel to in Europe were developed by their citizens,’’ he said.
The don advised those who intended to migrate to other countries to do so through proper channels, to avoid unnecessary risks.
“The proper way to travel is to present one’s international passport and obtain a visa of the country of interest. That way, one’s right of movement within the international system is protected.
“With international terrorism becoming a major global concern, it is no longer safe for people to travel through back channels to other countries, including the European Union,’’ he said.
Lawal added that the failure of governance in Libya had further increased the risks of sojourning through that region.
“Libya is virtually a failed state because governance there is in crisis.
“There is a central government recognised by the international community which operates from the capital in Tripoli, but the routes mostly used by these illegal migrants are controlled by rebel groups.
“They are the ones that inflict hardships like forced labour and slavery on illegal migrants,’’ he said.
The don also urged Nigeria and other countries with illegal migrants to liaise with destination countries in North Africa and Europe to stem the tide of illegal migration.