By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—-IN an effort to tackle irregular migration in the country, the Federal Government has inaugurated Migration Resource Centre, MRC, which was established by the International Organisation for Migration(IOM) in conjunction with the Federal Government in Benin City, Edo State.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige at the inauguration said the Federal Government was stepping up efforts to save millions of Nigerian youths from mishaps and exploitations inherent in irregular migration and further widen the windows of organized labour migration in view of its significant contributions to the nations socio-economic growth.
In a statement signed by Samuel Olowookere, Director, Press Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ngige said, “Migration poses a growing challenge to Nigeria. We therefore recognize the need for a better management of the organized labour migration because of its numerous contributions to the economic and social development of the country while also combating rising challenges from irregular migration with its attendant exploitative practices, human trafficking, forced labour and smuggling.”
According to the Minister, the Benin Migration Resource Centre will complement the centres in Lagos and Abuja as an authentic one-stop shop where potential and returnee migrants will access relevant migration information on a wide range of services.
He said, “It will help provide accurate information on regular migration procedure and required documents, expose the risk of irregular migration, give information on opportunities and advisories to improve the welfare of migrant workers.
“This will ensure that intending and returnee migrants make informed decision about their migratory aspiration, hence minimize the risk witnessed by uninformed persons crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean while maximizing the benefits of regular migration experience.”
He said that establishment of centre in Benin City, was strategic in view of its high incidence of irregular migration as well as human trafficking, adding that since the adoption of the National Policy on Labour Migration in 2014 by the Federal Government, it has provided the nation with a framework for adequate guidance on Migration.
The Minister stated that the job centres established by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja, Lagos, Anambra, Bauchi and Delta States which currently provide assistance to applicants on job placements and employment opportunities will in future extend its services to migration.
Earlier, the International Organisation for Migration Chief Missioner in Nigeria, MS Enira Krdzalic decried the horrendous risk Nigerians and other Africans take in crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean to Europe, saying that the centre would provide adequate information for prospective and returnee migrants.
She called on local and international stakeholders to pull together efforts to confront the challenges posed by migration through a wide range of youth empowerment programmes to stem the tide of illegal migration.
The International Organisation for Migration development programmes are within the framework of European Union funded projects.