Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday, enumerated factors that have negatively impacted on the challenges of migration in West Africa.
Aregbesola spoke at the opening of a two-day regional conference on: “Migration in West Africa: Challenges and Solutions” organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German foundation, in Abuja.
He was represented by the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammed Babandede.
“Records have shown that migration in West Africa is majorly for economic reasons and mainly influenced by poor governance, high rate of youth unemployment, poverty, poor infrastructural development.
“Other factors influencing migration drift in the region include war, conflicts, insecurity, insurance, political insecurity, disaster, climate change, etc,” he said.
The minister noted that Nigeria has also had its share of migration challenges affecting security and socioeconomic development of the country.
According to him, some of the challenges include insurgency, armed banditry, transnational kidnapping and robbery, human trafficking, migrants and goods smuggling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, drugs and cross border money laundry, etc.
Aregbesola, however, said that the Federal Government is committed to combating challenges associated with migration in the country.
“I am therefore happy to inform you that some of these issues are being confronted frontally at national and regional level such as the recent Ouagadougou Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments meeting held on the 12th and 14th September 2019.
“At the national level, several measures and policies are being implemented to address these challenges.
“Recently, the government introduced the electronic registration of migrants resident in Nigeria,” he said.
He explained that the exercise is aimed at documenting regular and irregular migrants in the country in which six months amnesty period was granted by President Muhammadu Buhari to irregular migrants in the country to regularise their residence.
He said government would continue to provide enabling policy direction, legal framework and required resources to ensure that migration in and out of the country is legal, safe and of national interest.
Aregbesola commended KAS for bringing the conference to Nigeria.
A lecturer at the Training and Research Centre on Population, University of Abomey Calavi in Benin, Dr Benoit Koffi Sossou, said the link between population growth and migration in Africa is increasingly becoming a problem that is stirring passions.
The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Brigitt Ory, called on the need for a concerted effort by the regional countries towards tackling the migration problems.
She said migration has become an important topic in Germany and Europe.
Also speaking, the Resident Representative of KAS in Nigeria, Dr. Vladimir Kreck, said governments at all levels should brace up to the task of ending the scourge through good governance, creation of enabling environment to boost job opportunities, strengthening the legal framework that can check irregular migration, among others.