A group of concerned Nigerians under the auspices of the Migrant Project have taken the campaign against illegal migration to the doorsteps of Lagos and Edo residents in particular, and Nigerians in general.
According to the Coordinator, Mrs. Clare Henshaw, the group became worried following reports in both local and international media about the number of Nigerian youths who die on the desert and the Mediterranean Sea, trying to cross over to Europe.
She said participants in the campaign are people of like minds, who felt that something must be done urgently to arrest the ugly trend.
She said: “As an Edo person, I feel touched and disturbed that majority of Nigerians, especially women, who are involved in this mad rush to Europe, are from my state. We have heard and read sordid stories of how those who made it to the supposed ‘land of honey’ get involved in prostitution. And how many of those who could not make it to Europe perished in the desert and in the Mediterranean Sea. I felt the trend is on the rise because victims lack adequate information on what awaits them before embarking on such risky ventures.
“So, I felt that aggressive enlightenment campaign to get people properly informed about the issue of illegal migration is urgently needed. I also chose to start with Edo and Lagos States because those are the two states with the highest number of people involved in the game.”
Mrs. Henshaw noted that the campaign, which has been running for about one month now, would go a long way to arresting the ugly trend.
She also called on the media to support the campaign in order to ensure its success.
She said: “For over one month now, we have been holding meetings with community development associations, churches, youth groups, market women associations and churches among others to enlighten them on the dangers involved in trying to migrate illegally to Europe or to some other African countries. Our primary targets are the youths, while our secondary target remains the parents, who we understand, play key roles in all of these.
“We call on the mass media to help us spread this message, so that this campaign will achieve the desired result at the end.”
One of the participants in the campaign, Oyindamola Ijewere said: “We are determined to ensure that the menace is drastically reduced, even if we can’t stamp it out completely, because we are losing our productive youths and it is not good for the future of this country.
So far, we are on it but it has not been easy. Despite the fact that we present the dangers inherent in such journey, many people, particularly the youths, still insist on leaving the country if opportunity beckons. Some of them will bluntly tell you that they prefer to die in the desert to suffering in Nigeria. It is that bad.
“So, we are using this opportunity to appeal to our political leaders to do something urgently about the level of unemployment in the country. I strongly believe that if our economy is a bit better, people will not be willing to take such risks.”