The Federal Government has taken steps to curb irregular migration plaguing the country by raising a committee to examine and proffer solutions to the underlying factors making such migrations attractive.
The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. (rtd) ABdulrahman Dambazau, stated this in Abuja when he received the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.
Gen. Dambazau said that the proposed committee, which membership is drawn from Edo State and various frontline Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) – Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would propose ways to contain irregular migration of citizens, especially the youth, from Nigeria to other countries, as the phenomenon has assumed a worrisome proportion.
He noted that the present situation was a sad and sharp departure from the norm in which Nigeria was a major and attractive destination to migrants, to Nigerians irregularly leaving the country in droves in a desperate bid to migrate to other countries.
The Minister added that irregular migration had become a national security threat that needed collaborative efforts to eliminate.
On prison reforms, he said the Federal Government had made some headway, and was at present working with state governments to upgrade Nigerian prisons to meet minimum world standard.
He assured the governor that the Federal Government would partner Edo State to upgrade its prison facilities, maintain law and order, and curb irregular migration in the state.
Earlier, the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, said his visit was to seek Federal Government’s support on a range of issues – stemming the tide of irregular migration, upgrading of prison facilities and maintenance of law and order.
According to him, irregular migration of Edo State indigenes had reached epidemic proportion, and from the data of returnees kept by the State, more than 63% of trafficked persons were boys, which is an aberration from the usual practice of trafficking mostly girls.
The Governor disclosed that Edo State had put in place various measures to curb the phenomenon, including the domestication of national laws on illegal migration, and the setting up of a task force on illegal migration, whose major work is advocacy and rehabilitation of, and provision of skill acquisition to returnees, noting that the task force had been active even before the recent return of Edo State migrants from Libya.
He added that 2,700 irregular migrants from the state had so far returned, adding that their rehabilitation was on-going.
Governor Obaseki said that through the debriefing of returnees, the state now had a data base, which would be made available to the Federal Government.
He also solicited the support of the Federal Government in the relocation and expansion of the prison in Edo State for proper reformation of prisoners.