FG/ IOM Assist Over 34,000 Stranded Nigerian Migrants in Seven Years

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Over the past seven years, a total of 34,694 stranded Nigerian migrants have been assisted in returning home through the collaborative efforts of the Federal Government and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Cyprine Cheptepkeny, an IOM Awareness Raising Programme Officer, revealed this during a media training session on Amplifying Women’s Voices in Migration Decision Making held in Lagos.

Out of these returnees, 19,579 were male and 15,115 were female. They were evacuated from various countries, including Libya, Chad, Morocco, Mali, Germany, Netherlands, and Ghana. Of the returnees, 28,204 have been successfully reintegrated, with 16,264 being male and 11,940 being female. Reintegration involved providing support, such as vocational education and training, to help them start income-generating activities.

Cheptepkeny emphasized the changing dynamics of migration, noting an increase in the number of women migrating in recent years. She stressed the importance of the media in shaping migration narratives, urging practitioners to use stigma-free language and ensure balanced and inclusive coverage.

Maureen Ovie, Head of the Migration Resource Centre, highlighted that 45 per cent of women travel independently, with this trend expected to rise. However, she cautioned that many women lack proper information about migration processes, leading to exploitation.

Government officials, including Ms. Ijeoma Ifeobu from the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, emphasized the government’s efforts in promoting regular migration awareness and fair recruitment practices.

Enitan Ibironke, a migration counselor, urged the media to provide additional resources and digital content to help women make informed migration decisions. Rita Folawewo, Executive Director of the Girls Inspired Development Network, explained that the training aimed to empower journalists in Lagos to amplify women’s voices in migration decision-making processes and improve the documentation of women’s stories for justice and human rights.