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Japa: Enugu, IOM To Resettle Returnee Irregular Migrants

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Governor of Enugu State Peter Mbah has expressed the readiness of the government to partner with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to ensure the safe return, resettlement and reintegration of irregular and stranded migrants from the state.

Mbah said the government would also help the IOM secure a zonal office in Enugu so that such returnees could come home directly and be rehabilitated in Enugu rather than being taken to other states, adding that the radical social programmes introduced by the government would be handy in equipping such returnees with skills to make a decent living.

This also came on a day the IOM revealed that it had helped 350 stranded and irregular immigrants of Enugu State extraction, mostly from Libya and Niger Republic, to return home safely.

Mbah spoke yesterday when he received at the Government House, Enugu, a delegation of the IOM in Nigeria led by the Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck. He commended the IOM for its role in mitigating the challenges faced by irregular migrants, including victims of trafficking and exploitation.

“As a government, we are quite ready to collaborate with you in the areas of integration of these victims and also those who may just be stranded abroad and interested in coming back home, to be reintegrated into their home state.

“We have a lot of programmes that we have also designed as a state to cater for the welfare and wellbeing of our people. We have several radical programmes in the social services sector. Whether it is in education and healthcare, the government is involved in in-depth programmes that will impact the lives of our people, including such returnees.

“Meanwhile, it should not be a case that if our people are to be brought back from outside the country, they would be kept in Lagos or elsewhere. I think they should be brought back to Enugu and we should be able to have at least a transit camp where they can stay and undergo counselling and get reintegrated. Therefore, we are also more than happy to work with you to have a zonal office in Enugu, as I was made to understand you are interested in securing one,” he said.

He also expressed the readiness of the administration to partner with IOM to tap into the positive side of migration by harnessing the state’s diaspora material and human resources for the good of both themselves and the state.

“You know that we have a lot of programmes, which we believe will attract the diasporans. One is our Disapora Bond, which we hope to launch sometime in April this year,” he added.
Earlier, the IOM chief of mission, De Boeck, said the main activity of the IOM in the state was in the area of ensuring the “return and reintegration of young, able people, who left the country.”

“For years, we have worked with some of our offices abroad and in other countries where we have identified Enugu people, who were stranded or were victims of smugglers and traffickers. And in this regard, we have organised their return and reintegration,” he said.


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