Mediterranean Crossing: It is not worth it, Dabiri-Erewa warns

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By Emmanuel Aziken
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa Monday bemoaned the reported loss of 26 Nigerian lives across the Mediterranean Sea at the weekend.

Migrants drowning

Responding to the development she said that the journey had become more risky on account of the use of smaller but more dangerous boats by the traffickers, a situation she said has been exacerbated by the increasing indifference by European authorities to the plight of those on the sea.

While appealing for increased awareness on the dangers and the opportunities available at home, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said that the present administration had in the last six months returned close to 5,000 Nigerians under the voluntary repatriation scheme.

While noting that she was, however, yet to get an official confirmation on the development said:

“We are yet to get official reaction on it, but if it is true it is very, very unfortunate. We have been saying it for a very long time that these dangerous journeys are not worth it. It is still a problem of ignorance and we have to do more about awareness and now, it is getting more dangerous because the boats being used are smaller, so there is every likelihood of drowning with these smaller boats.

“Secondly, the authorities at the other end are not too anxious to save them anymore, so more often than not, they are going to be left to drown. So, in the last six months this administration has brought down almost 5,000 voluntary returnees, and some of them have gone into productive ventures and have found ways of surviving, some are even being enrolled in the N-Power programme.

“My appeal is that it is not worth risking your life for. Even when you get there if you succeed, there is no better life there.

“So, what we need is more awareness on the dangers of this kind of migration. No matter what it is not better there and these people going pay for the journey, why don’t you use that money to do something better here?

“It is tragic but we need to keep emphasising that it is not worth it and it is going to get more dangerous with the use of smaller boats for the journey.”

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