The Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) yesterday, June 22 at Lome, Togo during the maiden West African Media Migration unveiled its book titled Guide To Migration Reportage which the former Minister of Immigration, Canada, Gerry Weiner authored.
The summit was organized by JIFORM with over 3oo journalists spread across the continent covering migration matters.
The summit had in attendance, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, member of the African Union Labour Migration Advisory Committee, Dr Asie Kabuki Ocansey from Ghana, Prof Byron Price from City University, America, International Organization for Migration (IOM Ghana), Yves Aubaud, from COLIBRI-AFRIQUE-FRANCE, Dr Issac Ajijola from ESCAE University Benin Republic and his counterpart Dr Hammad Yekeen and others.
Onyeama, who was represented by the former Nigerian ambassador to Singapore, Bolaji Alade Akinremi pledged support of the ministry for the JIFORM both within and out side
He said: “It is important to state that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has over the years monitored the activities of the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) and I am not only proud of the organization, we shall continue to support its activities on migration matters both within and outside Africa.
“The theme of this summit: Reappraising Migration Reportage And Its Impact On The West African is very apt and goes to the core of how the information dissemination professions and professionals help all humans in the choices they make in order to make life meaningful.
Migration has a major impact on both the people and the places involved in it. When supported with appropriate policies, however, migration can contribute to inclusive and sustainable development in both origin and destination countries, while also benefiting migrants and their families.
“Nigeria reportedly accounts for about 51% of the total African migrant population, with an average number of more than 20 million people. Majority of these migrants are irregular, meaning they travelled through unusual routes and are therefore without the necessary documentation to reside freely and legally in those countries.”
Bolaji added that: “For this reason, Nigeria has created or strengthened about five (5) government agencies to contribute to the fight against irregular migration. Additionally, Nigeria has put in place some administrative instruments that would ensure enhanced results in the implementation of migration-related programmes and projects.
“They are the National Migration Policy (2015), Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement Act (2003), as amended in 2015, Nigeria Immigration Act, amended in 2015, National Drug Law Enforcement Act, amended in 2015, and the Labour Migration Policy (2015)”.
President of JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi, said the body “is standing up for Africa to reject slavery. Globally, migrants’ matters are human rights issues. As part of the steps to deepening the knowledge of journalists to report on migration with human face, today, we are unveiling a publication on migration terminologies and concepts.
“As in other parts of the world, most migrants from Western Africa are seeking employment and better economic opportunities.
“The reality is that “economic hardship”, “poverty” and “better business prospects” were the dominant reasons why Africans emigrate elsewhere, sadly the Middle East countries have continued to take advantage of these shortcomings to maltreat and subject many of the African youths mostly the women to untoward hardship under the Kafala system of employment over the years. Although, Saudi Arabia abolished the system recently out of ignorance, many Africans are still being lured into this trap” he noted.
Ocansey called on the continent to embrace decent work as strategy to combat slavery.
The Principal consultant to the Sierra Leonean government on migration matters said women on the continent must be trained and offered jobs by well-trained labour consultants to achieve the desired result.
Ghana’s IOM spoke on migrant’s reintegration and voluntary returns and pledged to do more for African migrants in this order.
Wilmot Kojo, a Ghana IOM official who presented the paper, cited the huge contribution of the organization on migrant matters.