flags off campaign against smuggling of migrants

By Evelyn Usman

 The Nigeria Immigration Service ,NIS  in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,UNODC , yesterday,unveiled the Observatory Report on Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) , aimed at unravelling  the dynamics of smuggling of migrants activities through and to Nigeria, between 2019 and 2021.

 At the unveiling ceremony held  at the NIS headquarters Abuja, the Comptroller General of Immigration,  IsahJere Idris, reiterated the NIS commitment to contain the menace of smuggling.

The CGI who was represented by the  Deputy Comptroller General in-charge of Visa and Residency, DCG IAM Halirufdc, informed that the service had been  statutorily empowered with the necessary legal instrument to prosecute Smugglers of Migrants.

 The statutory empowerment, according to him, was backed by the Immigration Act 2015 (Sections 65-98), having fully  domesticated the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

While appreciating the Canadian government and other development partners for  their  interventions in the fight against Smuggling of Migrants and other cross-border criminal activities, the  Deputy Comptroller General further reiterated the continuous commitment of the Service to collaborate with critical stakeholders in any efforts, at achieving orderly, humane and responsive migration.

 He assured that  the Service would  look at the Report closely with a view to enabling processes and procedures to frontally address the issues raised.

Earlier in his remarks, the Country Representative of UNODC, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, described the report as insightful and useful in understanding and addressing the unfolding migratory realities in Nigeria and in the West African sub-region.

He noted that an interesting element of the report was the steadily decreasing cases of Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria since 2018 and therefore, called  for its sustenance with a view to wiping out the menace from  the country’s migratory discourse.

 Similarly,  representative of the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria Ms Majorie Lubin appreciated the depth of the report and pledged her government’s continuous partnerships and collaborations with the Service and other relevant stakeholders in better migration management.

A statement signed by the NIS spokesman, Amos Okpu, a Deputy Comptroller of Immigration, noted that the  presentation of the Observatory Report demonstrated  another giant move by the Service, UNODC and  other partners to offer reliable inferences on the unfolding migratory realities in the country.

The statement read: “ An instructive finding of the research is that 75% of Nigerians on the move surveyed during the work stated that they had planned to use Migrant Smugglers or Travel Facilitators when they were preparing for their journey as compared to 21% who said they had not planned to do so. The Report further indicated that 72% of those surveyed stated that someone or something influenced their decision to migrate while just 9% of that group cited smugglers as the most important influence. 

“On gender profiling of Migrant Smugglers, the report stated that 78% are men, 19% are women and 3% both. The Observatory Report was done by some researchers under the auspices of UNODC”.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to increase public awareness on the ills of Migrants Smuggling, the 2022 nationwide sensitization programme on Smuggling of Migrants was flagged-off during the event.

Other major highlights of the event included: the unveiling of the Observatory Report Document and goodwill messages from representatives of relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Interior, FIIAPP-ATIPSOM, InternationalCentre for Migration Policy Development,ICMPD, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters ,NAPTIP among others.

The event was attended by representatives of the Embassies of Denmark, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and the Inspector General of Police, IGP Alkali Usman , who was represented by CP Babatola Afolabi; NACTAL and the Refugees Commission represented by Mr. Titus Murdakai.

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