NIGERIA– Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omostoso has charged migration journalists across the globe to report the untold stories of migrants.
This according to him was necessary in order to reposition and counsel being lured to slavery and death through irregular migration and human trafficking so as to forestall the development.
He made the comment on Monday while receiving the prestigious JIFORM Leadership Award at his Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
The award was presented by President JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi who was accompanied by the Controller News Radio Nigeria One and JIFORM Organising Secretary, Abiola Peters; Chairperson, Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and JIFORM Women Coordinator, Nigeria, Abiola Ekine and other members of the foundation, Innocent Duru of The Nation Newspaper and Yakubu Yusuf of the Source Magazine.
Ajibola stated that the commissioner was singled out for the honour because of his dedication to duties, support for advocacy against irregular migration and extreme passion for migration stories as Editor both at The Comet and Nation Newspapers over the years.
Earlier the President presented the report of the JIFORM summit held in Abuja on November 26-28, 2019 and asked for support for the foundation’s international events slated for Lagos in 2010.
Receiving the report and JIFORM 2020 proposal , an elated Omotoso thanked the foundation for honouring him saying: “I am happy that the token we were able to give as support for your event last year was appreciated. There were people we assisted with large sums of money and they never bothered to acknowledge the gesture talk less of placing a call to say thank you.
“That would not stop this office and the Lagos state government from assisting the public. For us, it is call to duty.
“That you even consider it worthy to look back really excite me. The award is much appreciated.”
The former editor spanning over two decades at The Nation newspaper however noted that JIFORM and its members have a lot to change the tide of irregular migration on Africa continent particularly in Nigeria.
He encouraged the body to combine investigative journalisms with its advocacy by unraveling the untold stories of migrants.
“There are stories that are traumatic one wouldn’t want to tell. I have had such encounters in Italy and America years back as journalist, and I wrote those stories at the Guardian and The Nation newspapers.
“Thousands of the youths in this county must be told the home truth about irregular migration. Horror, agony and death are what many encounter through the desert and on the Mediterranean Sea” he lamented.
The commissioner though admitted that the economy was challenging, he counseled the youths to rather engage in ventures that would enhance their productivities by shunning tempting offers to embark on unplanned journey.
“There roads to be tarred, building to build and lots of infrastructure to be erected in Africa. These are clear indications that with proper planning, there are jobs at home for our engineers and artisans but in Europe they are through with those things. The jobs are here.
“The real stories of irregular migrants are not being told. Only the extremely lucky ones are surviving abroad where regularisation of status is a thug of war.
“There are thousands of people that are rotting away and could not even raise money for air tickets back home.
“JIFORM has a lot to do by using videos and other narratives to reposition peoples mind about desperation to live abroad because souls are being lost to misgivings from those who are set out to profit from the frustration of their fellow beings” Omotoso stated.