Proverbially, life is an adventure and every man in search of their daily bread and butter. Some ventures into illegal migration to other countries that glitters but not gold and risk their survival of life and death.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is determining to continue to sensitize, expose and advocate against illegal migration into all these oversea countries that glitters but not gold.
NIS disclosed that sometimes in January and May 2017 that over 10,000 Nigerians have died as a consequence of trying to illegally migrate through the Mediterranean Sea and the deserts.
Mr. Maroof Giwa, Assistant Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in control of NIS training, manpower and development, while delivering his address in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria on Friday on ‘Trafficking in Persons/Smuggling of Migrants at various borders,’ organised by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), disclosed that 4,900 Nigerians died in the Mediterranean Sea while the rest died while going through the deserts in their bid to cross to Europe and other countries.
That illegal migrants and traffickers from Nigeria go through Libya, Mali, Niger Republic and Morocco.
Mr. Giwa Maroof further stated that “Smuggling of migrants is taking a front burner in world affairs today. Almost every day, you hear stories of boat capsizing and people trying to reach Europe. Nigerians are dying almost every day.
“This year alone, 4,900 Nigerians died on the Mediterranean route to Europe. There are countless others who died on their way through the deserts; we have even lost count. Many more perished on that route.
“In fact over 10,000 people have died on the Mediterranean route and the deserts. Those who died in the deserts are far more than the dead victims along the Mediterranean route. There is the need to create awareness within our community that going to Europe is not an option, particularly if it is through irregular routes.
“Apart from that, a lot of people are profiting from the venture. Last week, about 4,000 Nigerians were deported from Libya. Those ones were intercepted when they were about to enter the Mediterranean Sea.”
“Nigerian borders are very bad. We cannot cover all and the terrains are rugged. The vastness and porosity of the borders are huge challenges. Some borders are designated while some are not designated and so are illegal routes. These traffickers are aware of the illegal routes, so they try to use them.
“In order to have effective surveillance, you need technology. If we have drones that we can use to patrol the borders very well, that will help us a great deal. We used to have air-border patrol but the aircraft has been grounded. It will be resuscitated and the aircraft will soon be put to use.
“Very soon, we will be patrolling the borders by air. That will increase our capability of also fighting terrorism. Most of the terrorist activities take place around the borders. Traffickers should desist as NIS is more prepared to tackle them. We have a new law to deal with smugglers.”
It was further clarified by Mr. Giwa that the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) is determined to put an end to illegal migration, human trafficking;
That despite the Nations porous borders and challenges posed to NIS officials that NIS would continue to deal with the challenges with the use of technology.
Also at the section, the Kwara State Comptroller chapter, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mrs. Abiodun Abimbola-Ojo, stated that NIS rescued more than 36 illegal immigrants’ victims of trafficking from 2015 till date.
“The public should assist us in the job. They should give us information on trafficking and smuggling of persons. Prevention is necessary.
“Smuggling and trafficking are two major things. The major aim of a trafficker is to exploit, but a smuggler wants to exploit just now and go his way. He procures the documents, whether regular or not regular, all he wants is his money.”
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sunday James, disclosed that NIS had been discouraging Nigerians without cogent reasons from traveling abroad and “Some of the people embarking on illegal migration often use routes that are not officially recognised by the service. But as part of measures to discourage this, we are overhauling our surveillance aircraft which would be deployed around the borders to track down and stop these individuals from traveling abroad illegally.”
Sometimes in the month of March 2017, the spokesperson of the United Nations Migration agency, International Organization on Migration, Flavio Di Giacomo, had disclosed that 26,589 migrants and refugees entered Europe between January and March, 2017, with over 80 per cent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece.
Flavio Di Giacomo said the number was, however, lower compared with 163,895 recorded through the first 86 days of 2016.
The European Union (EU) had also disclosed that 22,500 Nigerian illegal migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe between January and September 2016.
Also, the Deputy Head of EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Richard Young, disclosed that “In 2014 the number of people travelling illegally into Europe was 280,000 people; in 2015, it rose to 1.8 million”.
Mr. Richard Young disclosed that 420,000 persons had illegally crossed to Europe between January and September 2016, and that the number was expected to rise to 800,000 by the end of 2016.
“Within this number, people coming from Nigeria (to Europe) in 2012 were 800; in 2013, the number was 2,900. In 2014, the number was 8,700; in 2015, the number was 23,000 and between January and September 2016, the number is 22, 500”.
The President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, vet his anger on the failure of government to cater for it citizens due to inefficient of nations to curb poverty, corrupt practices in the country.
He stated as follows, “If a government has given its citizens such desperation to survive to the extent that it is recording up to 10,000 deaths, it already qualifies as genocide. It is a serious war against humanity in another form. It is not only when acts of war are executed that you talk of genocide, if you starve your people to death and record such a number, that is already crime against humanity.
“The underlying factor driving this unholy search for greener pasture, with the belief that the grass is greener on the other side, is the failure of leadership in the Nigerian state, which has occasioned insecurity, joblessness and even hopelessness.
“Nigerians do not just die in the Mediterranean Sea, now Nigerians go to the Third Mainland Bridge and jump into the Lagos lagoon. This clearly underscores the level of poverty involved in the situation.”
He further urge Nigerian leaders and “Government to rise to the occasion and tackle the social and economic conditions that created the desperation of the Nigerian people to seek better lives outside the shores of this country.”
Also, the Executive Director of the International Centre for Peace Charities and Human Development, Mr. Clement Iornongu, blamed the situation on the harsh economy of the country.
He tasked the Federal Government to provide good governance and social welfare for the people in order to prevent more Nigerians from taking “risky trips.”
“The people died because they were trying to leave the harsh Nigerian economy for greener pastures. It’s the failure of the Federal Government to provide them with the basic needs of life that made them embark on dangerous trips.
“We will see more Nigerians risking their lives to travel abroad if the government fails to provide social welfare and good governance for the people.”
Mr. Maroof Giwa, Assistant Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) concluded on the keynote that the NIS would soon deploy surveillance helicopters to track down citizens using illegal routes to leave the country.