By Abiola PETERS
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Isah Jere Idris, has charged media professionals in the country to use journalism skills including investigation to inform the public on the ills of irregular migration.
He gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the 2-day JIFORM’s workshop on sensitization strategies and reportage on Irregular Migration and human trafficking held in Abuja on Monday.
“I have taken note of your contributions in Migration Management since 2019 especially in capacity building for journalists. Also noted is your information on the fourth edition of the JIFORM Global Summit which is scheduled to take place from October 2 to 14, 2023 in Toronto, Canada”.
Represented by Assistant Controller General (ACG) Ngozi Odikpo, the acting Deputy Comptroller General Migration, the CGI Isah Jere, thanked the NGC for identifying with journalists in the country.
He encouraged JIFORM to work with local and International Organizations whose primary mandate is to promote safe and Regular Migration like International Organization for Migration (IOM), FIIAPP, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and International Center for Migration Policy Development ICMPD).
Also speaking at the occasion, the immediate past Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede said “ it is pertinent that the media enlighten the populace about the dangers of irregular migration, TIP and SOM through. An example of using entertainment to sensitize the public about the negative impact of these vices is the production of a Television series titled.
“The Missing Steps”, which is a collaborative effort between IOM Nigeria and the Swiss Federation: the script of which I developed. However, a lot still needs to be done, because a large portion of the population is still ignorant of the dangers and menaces of these vices. This is where the media needs to have a robust strategy for effective enlightenment as well as dissemination of information on the perpetrators.”
Tolulope Olaiya represented The Team Leader of the NGC, a programme under the German Corporation for International Development (GIZ), Ms Sandra Vermuijten, which implements the “Returning to New Opportunities of Programme” of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said the agency would continue to support the JIFORM capacity building initiative for journalists.
Tolulope, the Abuja Coordinator of the NGC said the organization appreciated “the central role the media plays in shaping public awareness about the issues of migration. Words carry more significance beyond the pages they are printed on; they could have devastating effects on victims of human trafficking, for example; they could also open the public’s eyes to false hopes that are peddled by bad actors.
“There is no doubt that this two-day workshop aimed at enhancing the capacity of journalists on evidence-based reporting and a better understanding of migration management will contribute to broadening the knowledge of journalists on migration issues to present migration reportage that positively influences and impacts migration policies and implementation in the country.
“Our programme, the Programme, Migration for Development (PME), is implemented by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in close partnership with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, particularly its Migrant Resource Centres. The programme is part of the BMZ support for voluntary return and sustainable reintegration.
“Between December 2017 to December 2022, the BMZ programme has provided over 282, 000 individual support measures to returnees and the local population, provided almost 60,000 individual consultations, placed over 30,000 persons in employment, provided over 42,000 business start-up measures, over 133,000 qualification measures and provided over 1600 psychosocial support services.”
In his presentation, Dr Ajibola Abayomi, President of JIFORM, expressed concern at the alarming rate at which several Nigerians are being deported from Europe and others being deceived or lured into unplanned journeys that lead to slavery, sexual exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking, noting that these incidents are enough to provoke the media to double up efforts beyond the traditional duties; to inform, entertain, educate among others.
Dr Ajibola harped on the media
to expose those behind the crime and call for various supports for the victims through rehabilitation and reintegration because they deserve to be treated as brothers and sisters, to get another chance to live a better life.
“Journalists must get involved in telling success stories of individuals, businesses and other endeavours to reinforce the belief that better living is possible in Nigeria to discourage “japa” at all cost syndrome, especially among the youths”.
“Journalists must be focused and oriented to promote regular migration in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7 requiring extensive consultations and engagements with the stakeholders to facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration, said the JIFORM President.”
Other speakers at the workshop were, Comptroller NIS Rivers State, James Sunday, Vincent Adekoye, National Press Officer, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), and Mrs Ovie Maureen, the Head of Migrant Resource Centres, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.