By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other stakeholders have advocated safe, orderly and regular migration to avert the dangers of irregular migration.
Representatives of IOM, ECOWAS and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) made the call in Abuja on Wednesday at a joint news conference.
They spoke shortly after a solidarity walk to mark the International Migrants Day with the theme, ’’We Together’’.
The IOM Chief of Mission in Abuja, Mr Franz Celestin, said that it was important to treat migrants with dignity because of their contributions to the social and economic development of nations.
“First and foremost, migrants have inherent human rights; we understand that every member state has right to regulate its borders to decide who comes in and in what circumstance.
“But migration is an important factor in development; migrants bring a lot to the local economy in terms of tax base, social security and also a lot of knowledge and innovation.
“So this is why we are advocating that migrants follow the regular pathways and for the host countries to increase the number of regular pathways for migrants.
“And that may include more students, work and humanitarian visas as well as more family unification to allow people to move regularly,” he said.
Dr Tony Elumelu, ECOWAS Head of Migration, also said that there were so many benefits derivable in regular migration.
Elumelu said that the commission had provided opportunities for youths to migrate visa-free within member countries, adding that all that was needed was the basic requirement of ECOWAS passport.
NCFRI’s Federal Commissioner, Sen. Basheeru Mohammed, said that migration was a part of humanity because people had always and would continue to migrate.
Mohammed said that it was imperative for solidarity to be shown to thousands and millions of people who had fled their homes and lost their relatives during migration..
“I mean those looking for a country where they can be free and safe; a country in which they can live to determine their own lives in freedom.
“I would also like to remind those at home that are planning on doing the same that your lives are more valuable at home.
“So I think it is good for us to reflect on this day what migration means for our world. We are advocating for safe, regular and dignified migration.
“This walk is a symbol of solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives or have gone missing during perilous journeys through the desert or by the sea in search of a better life,” he said. (NAN)