President Bola Tinubu has assured the international community that African leaders are committed to strengthening their economies to dissuade their mostly young citizens from embarking on dangerous journeys across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in search of better opportunities.
Tinubu said if African leaders make countries convenient, their citizens would have no business seeking livelihoods abroad as manual labourers.
He gave the assurance during his inaugural address at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) under the theme “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards Peace, prosperity, progress, and Sustainability for all.”
In his address, the Nigerian leader said that economic improvement was also needed to curb the “inhumane commerce” that has flourished along migration routes, where men, women, and children are reduced to commodities.
Furthermore, he noted the detrimental impact of this dangerous migration on regional peace and stability, compounded by the influx of mercenaries and extremists from the north.
“Our entire region is locked in protracted battle against violent extremists. In the turmoil, a dark channel of inhumane commerce has formed. Along the route, everything is for sale. Men, woman and children are seen as chattel.
“Yet, thousands risk the Sahara’s hot sand and the Mediterranean’s cold depths in search of a better life. At the same time, mercenaries and extremists with their lethal weapons and vile ideologies invade our region from the north.
“This harmful traffic undermines the peace and stability of an entire region. African nations will improve our economies so that our people do not risk their lives to sweep the floors and streets of other nations. We also shall devote ourselves to disbanding extremist groups on our turf.
“Yet, to fully corral this threat, the international community must strengthen its commitment to arrest the flow of arms and violent people into West Africa,” he said.
Recently, the acting Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Kemi Nandap, revealed alarming statistics from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Nandap said at least 1,200 Nigerians have lost their lives attempting the hazardous journey through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea as of July 2023.
Speaking during the 2023 Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Nationwide Sensitization and Enlightenment Campaign in Abuja, the Immigration chief lamented the “Japa syndrome” prevalent among Nigerian youths who in spite of dire consequences still embark on the journeys.