Today, December 18, is International Migrants Day.

This year’s event with the theme; "Safe Migration in a World on the Move", is exceptional for Nigeria and some European countries that have admitted an unprecedented number of migrants. Some came in alive while others entered dead and were buried in Europe. They had died at the deadly Mediterranean Sea.

Nigeria had a fair share of the unfortunate situations that befell migrants fleeing the oil-rich nation that has one of the highest youth unemployment and poverty rates in the world.

Nigerians seeking greener pasture have ended up in slavery in Libya while some who journeyed through the desert complete in search of route to Europe returned with one leg or one eye.

Worse in the peril are the 26 female Nigerians that could not enter Europe alive, but were buried in Europe after they died at Sea.

Slave trade has resurfaced in our time and the list is endless.

The United Nations (UN) believes the answer is effective international cooperation in managing migration to ensure that its benefits are most widely distributed, and that the human rights of all concerned are properly protected.

This UN answer seems more at the tail end of the glide, as the root cause of migration should be the focus.

When the cause of migration is reduced or eliminated in African countries, the problem is almost solved, a former Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Atiku Abubakar, believes.

The former Vice President knows the reason Nigerians are embarking on the deadly and desperate journey through the desert and then to the Mediterranean Sea and he also knows the solution to the challenge.


But who will implement it? That is one answer Nigerians will continue to ask as the Nigeria of their dream is still far from the reality on ground.

He was part of the 16 years of the PDP in governance, that Nigerians ended in 2015.

In his message to mark this year’s International Migrants Day, the man who returned to his old party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and is looking to contest the presidential election of 2019, highlighted that the creation of jobs and opportunities and inclusive government that does not engender crisis, would stem the ill-fated migration of Nigerians.

He believes that the major driver of migration, which at times are ill-fated like in the case of Libya is the search of a better life and opportunity.

The PDP chieftain, however, bemoans that the current situation in the country where three million jobs, according to the NBS, have been lost annually in the last two years, renders millions jobless and that with no prospects of opportunities are compelled to take the suicidal flight.

Atiku wants governments at all levels to create the enabling environment that will attract and sustain investments that will create jobs for the army of unemployed.

"The chances of a young person with a job and opportunity at home taken a suicidal flight in search of a better life will become an exception and not the rule," Atiku said.

While further acknowledging that migration is caused by poverty and insecurity in the original countries of the migrants, Atiku Abubakar notes that it is imperative for governments in Africa, Nigeria inclusive to govern in such a way as to create an environment conducive for economic progress and employment generation.

"A fair and inclusive government would spread available opportunity to all citizens and encourage those with entrepreneurial inclination to start businesses and factories to absorb the teeming population of the unemployed thus making unbridled migration unnecessary.

Also Read: Atiku's Chicken Cottage Opens In Abuja

"Migrants being humans deserve decent treatment,” he stressed, apparently referring to the harrowing experience and stereotype facing migrants the World over.

He is of the opinion that hands need to be on deck to deal squarely and in a humane manner with the challenges thrown up by the reality of migration in our contemporary World.

"One of the worst forms of maltreatment, which a migrant can experience, is the large scale enslavement of young and helpless Nigerian and African migrants in Libya which recently drew global attention," Atiku added.

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