Mr Johnson Babalola, a Nigerian but Canada-based lawyer, on 8 May 2019, delivered a paper, entitled “Irregular Migration: Our Failures and Beyond the Tears” in Abuja. That was at a joint conference organized by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Catholic Diocese of Abuja.
NAPTIP is a law enforcement agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, founded in 2003 in order to combat human trafficking and other similar human rights violations. NAPTIP is one of the agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Babalola’s paper focused on the rise in illegal migration from Nigeria, the reasons for it and recommendations to curb it. In his paper, he acknowledged that some Nigerian youths want to be successful ‘sharp sharp’ (as they put it). However, Babalola focused on the fundamental reasons that a number of the country’s youths and adults are leaving Nigeria irregularly despite the known risks.
As one of them put it during the conference: “I am already dead here in Nigeria, if I take the risk, I have 50% chance of making it to my destination. I will rather take the risk’. Another said: ‘When there is burial in our area, you see different beautiful canopies for people from Italy, people from Canada, US, UK etc popping champagne and our parents will task us to ensure we give them befitting burials like that when they die.”
Babalola narrated how one young man spoke about not being recognized by his Pastor when he gave a donation of N10, 000 to his church but another “whose siblings abroad had sent dollars and pounds sterlings had been called for a special hug by the Pastor.” Then a young lady said “parents now push them to travel outside of Nigeria and make money to take care of them and their siblings.”
In his paper, Babalola further stated why these youths leave irregularly: “They have experienced failures from those that shoud be leading them at every stage of their lives: family, religious leaders, academic leaders, government at all levels, traditional leaders et al. They attend schools with no academic facilities, they graduate and there is no employment, their lands and air are polluted, they have no access to loans to become self employed. There is no infrastructure in place. When they are abused, the Police don’t protect them, they see corrupt leaders celebrated and so on. They see leaders read out prepared speeches at events who leave after the opening ceremonies without staying to hear about their pains.”
In the words of Babalola: “The conference was a success but may become another conference like hundreds of others before it if there is no concrete plan in place to meaningfully engage the youths in our country. They will either continue to engage in crimes or leave our country irregularly. Our leaders at various levels (local, state and national) including those in political, religious, academic and traditional positions must become selfless. They must genuinely mentor the youths and engage them. I am truly concerned about the future of this great country if we continue to neglect our youths.
The lawyer revealed that as part of his own contribution, he is working on starting a youth mentorship Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Nigeria soon.
Babalola, the Principal Partner of Topmarke Arthoneys, a Canadian Immigration/Business Law Firm, is in Nigeria to, from today, 10 May, begin immigration seminars in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja. They will feature the following: Investors, professionals, trade skills, study permits, visiting visas, artistes, business owners, farm owners/managers and others. The principal partner, Mr Johnson Babalola from Canada and his team will be on hand for the programs.
As reported earlier on this platform, for the one in Port Harcourt, there will be a General seminar on 10 May 2019 at 9.am and 2 pm. There will also be a one-on-one consultation with the visiting experts the following day, 11 May from 10 am. Venue: Swizz Spirit Hotel Event Hall, 79 Ken Saro Wiwa Way, Port Harcourt.
The Lagos function will hold on 20 and 23 May at 9 am and 2 pm. Seminar for artistes, musicians, comedians, writers, directors, etc will hold on 17 May from 10 am. According to the organizers, one on one consultation will be on request. Venue: 2 Tunde Gafar Crescent, Off Adeniyi Jones, close to Aromire junction, Ikeja.