Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

The Federal Government through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons on Thursday said 200, 346 Nigerians fled the country in 2016 and were granted refugee status in neighbouring countries while about 36, 000 others arrived in Europe by sea.

The Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Sadiya Farouq, who stated this at a consultative forum on Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, in Lagos on Thursday, said the 36,000 migrants, according to the Italian Ministry of Interior, accounted for 21 per cent of the total 171, 299 immigrants who arrived in Europe by sea.

“In March 2017, there were 1, 899, 830 internally displaced persons in Nigeria due to various insurgencies and environmental disasters. For these reasons, about 200, 346 Nigerians fled in 2016 alone and were granted refugee status in neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger,” she said.

Farouq said the Federal Government through the NCFRMI in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Swiss Agency Development Cooperation and the European Union, had commenced consultations with relevant stakeholders to curtail illegal migration in and out of the country.

According to her, the process is as a result of the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016 which provided a platform to develop a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, with member states tasked to commence the process of developing GCM at national, regional and continental levels through a consultative forum.

Farouq said, “Nigerian youths continue to leave the country in droves for destinations unknown in their quest for greener pastures. While some fortunate ones have relocated abroad, some unfortunate ones die on the journey, with many others trapped in transit.”

The IOM’s Chief of Mission, Enira Krdzalic, said recent statistics showed that an increasing number of women were arriving in Italy from Nigeria for trafficking purposes.

She added, “The number of women arriving in Italy increased from 433 in 2013 to 11, 009 in 2016, with a huge number of unaccompanied children.

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