The Federal Government on Thursday in Abuja warned youths in the country against illegal migration to Europe.
Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment gave the warning during the Unveiling Ceremony of the National Policy on Labour Migration.
The policy was developed with the technical and financial support of the International Organisation of Migrant (IOM) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The occasion was used for the inauguration of the Labour Migration Technical Working Committee and Social Partners Advisory Committee.
Ngige said there were recent reports published both locally and international about Nigerian citizens who lost their lives while attempting to cross into Europe through the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert.
“But a common factor cutting across all of these stories is the fact that majority of those involved were in the prime of their youths.
“This is of utmost concern to the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as no responsible government would sit back and watch the depletion of its country’s most critical factor of production and National development.
“This government also recognizes that when people migrate in condition of freedom, dignity, equity and security, they can boost economic and social development of both countries of origin and destination.
“We are also aware that migrant workers with legal status are globally know to contribute to the growth and development of both countries of destination and countries of origin which clearly establishes the fact that migration in itself is not wrong but processes may be.”
He said that “as a country of origin and destination, Nigeria has derived signification benefits from migrant worker’s remittances and skills acquired during migration experience”.
Therefore, he said the Nigeria Government had attached much importance to the Labour Migration Policy.
He however, said that the risk associated with irregular migration and its impact on the country’s human resources and national development necessitated the development of the coherent policy on Labour migration.
“The National Policy on Labour Migration, which is the first Africa has three overall objectives”, the Minister said.
He said those objectives include “promotion of good governance of labour migration, protection of migrant workers and promoting their welfare and that of the family left behind.
“The other is the optimisation of the benefits of labour migration on development while mitigating its adverse impact.’’
He said the policy has established committee as part of its coordination mechanism which also includes the Technical Working committee to advise government on appropriate labour migration policy measure, among others.
The Minister said the second committee established by the policy was the social Partner Advisory committee that comprises of critical stakeholder in the labour market and they are develop strategies for achieving the overall objectives of the policy.
Alos at the occasion, Ms Enira Krdzalic, Chief Mission, IOM, said significant efforts were needed to operationalise the policy plan and turn it into tangible results.
Krdzalic said the IOM, within the framework of European Union and IOM Development Fund projects, has supported the Nigerian Government to develop initiatives to effectively manage migration in efficient and coherent manner.
She called for the support of the minister to facilitate the approval letter for the IOM’s vendors to install inverters at the Migrant Resource Centre in Abuja. Krdzalic said this would ensure regular supply of electricity and smooth operation of the centre.
Earlier, Mr Dennis Zulu, ILO country Director to Nigeria, said the policy was important to the promotion of decent work as stipulated by the ILO convention on Decent Work Agenda.
Zulu said the policy would also enable migrants to be respected at their place of work as it would be accorded Regular Immigrant Status in their countries of destination.