Dame Julie Okah-Donli, the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, has stated that contrary to insinuations in some quarters “migration is not bad in itself because there are various opportunities and ways in which Nigeria as a country can tap into this phenomenon to bring development to the country rather than simply restricting mobility. ”
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
She made the statement on the occasion of a public lecture in commemoration of the 60th birthday of Edo born business mogul, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo held inside the Akin Deko Auditorium of the University of Benin last weekend.
In her lecture titled “Youth Migration, Deportation and Rehabilitation: The Way Forward”, Dame Okah-Donli asserted that “migrants do not have to return permanently to make a contribution to development, but often times, young Nigerian migrants under the misguided belief that life is always better and more ‘rosy’abroad and some believe that money can be picked up on the streets abroad. “
Going further, she reiterated that “there is need for governments at all levels to come up with transformation programs and a national orientation and reorientation programme that will change people’s attitude to migration.
“Without this, an attitude crisis will be another major driving force for illegal migration. Something fundamental must be done to control and contain the illegal movement of people out of poor countries; and incentives introduced for those willing to stay and work at home. “
She affirmed that ‘a crucial step forward is to help re-orient and reeducate the average Nigeria youth to make them realise that they can actualise their potentials and dreams at home and that they are not necessarily poorer than their contemporaries abroad or in the country they migrate to. “
In his own paper, “Stemming the Tide of Youth Migration : A Viable Alternative “, Professor Osarhieme Benson Osadolor, the Dean of Students of the University of Benin, stated that “the consideration of a viable alternative in stemming the tide of youth migration must begin with the policy context of government intervention. “
According to him, “The starting point is the assessment of the implementation of the second national youth policy document of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2009. The document acknowledges that youth are the greatest assets that any nation can have; not only are they legitimately regarded as the future leaders, they are potentially and actually the greatest investment for a country’s development. “
He stressed that “the national youth policy represents a declaration and commitment of the priorities, directions and practical support that Nigeria intends to provide for the development of its young men and women.
“It’s a concrete and bold step to put the development and participation of young people at the centre of national development efforts. “