International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Nigeria, says it has so far assisted about 11,500 stranded Nigerians from Libya, Mali and Niger Republic, among others, to return to Nigeria under the EU-IOM Initiative for Migrant Protection and Re-integration in Nigeria.

Frantz Celestin, IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria, revealed this at the weekend in Abuja during the celebration of International Migrants Day.

Celestin explained that as at end of November, 2018, IOM had, in collaboration with government agencies, assisted stranded returnees, who were majorly irregular migrants to return home.

He explained that the returnees had been trained on business skills and cooperative management to enable them to re-integrate into the society.

According to him, “As of November 2018, IOM has assisted 11,500 Nigerians from Libya, Mali and Niger to return home.

“We provided support for them, working with National Agency for the Prohibition in Trafficking of Persons (NAPTIP), National Commission for Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to bring back those who have been stranded.

“But this is the first step. Once, they are home, we have to provide them with means for them to stay home.

“We have to create space in our environment for them to thrive. So far, we have trained about 5,000 returnees in business skills and management.

“We are stepping up our activities and getting them access to funding, so that they can be properly re-integrated.”

It would be recalled that the programme is focused on training and building the capacity of returnees on starting micro businesses as a strategy for creating decent work in the developing economies and mitigating irregular migration.

The training was also designed to enable returnees reach their levels of economic self-sufficiency, social stability within their communities, as well as psychosocial well-being that allows them to cope with migration.

The project was designed “To contribute to strengthening the governance of migration in EU partner countries and the sustainable return and reintegration of returning migrants,” under the EU funded, “The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Re-integration in Nigeria.”

The IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria further pointed out that migrants should migrate with human dignity, with their rights protected under the provisions of the law.

He said: “When people are migrating, we want to them to migrate with human dignity. We want them to be accorded their rights, they as human beings are born with, their right of protection.

“We are here to ensure that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) work for migrants and internally displaced persons.

“The message we are sending is that we are here on solidarity with all of those on the move. We are here to tell people that migration itself is a good thing.”

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