Participants at a one day National Migration Summit organised by the Journalists International Forum for Migration(JIFORM) with the theme: Irregular Migration: The Missing Links and the Remedy held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, have charged the media to ensure that Nigeria is portrayed in good light as their reports have potential impact on migrants.
Professor Lai Oso, a lecturer at the Lagos State University(LASU), while speaking stated that the media is a vital tool in the way people view migrants as the kind of representation that we get in the media on irregular migration is always very negative.
According to him, the issue of migration has become a global issue because of the volume of people that are involved. He affirmed that there is need to change the mindset of Nigerians to Nigeria if we want to reduce cases of irregular migration.
In his presentation, Dr. Jide Johnson, a lecturer at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, described migration as “a normal phenomenon.
He stated that the media has a critical role in ensuring that issues relating to migration are properly handled. He advised that anybody intent on leaving Nigeria must do so in the proper way. He said that a lot of people have lost their dignity through irregular migration.
In his contribution, Abdulrahman Balogun, Head of Media Unit of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), who represented the Director General(DG) of the Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that those who engage in criminal activities abroad are majorly those who are irregular migrants.
He cautioned parents to desist from pressurising their children to do irregular migration as such people end up going through series of unpalatable experiences that lead to their ejection from the country that they migrate to.
He disclosed that an intergovernmental committee is being set up that will in due course collaborate and come up with a proposal to address many of the issues relating to the JAPA syndrome.
Also talking, Sandra Vermuijten, the Team Lead of the Nigeria -German Centre for Jobs and reintegration said that perception play a huge role in the way migrants are viewed, adding that the JAPA syndrome is pervasive.
She advised that the returning migrants should not be stigmatised that rather their dignity should be respected. She stressed that employment issues must be addressed to curb irregular migration.
Comfort Modupe Agboko, who is the Zonal Commander of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP), who
represented the Director General (DG) of the agency, Professor Fatimah Waziri Azi, stated that migration is a key factor in the development of any society.
She counselled against giving false narratives about greener pastures outside the shores of the country. She listed the plethora of empowerment programmes initiated by the agency to support returning migrants and also the legal actions it embarked on to deal with human traffickers who use the instrument of cohesion and deceit to lure their victims into irregular migration.