By Iduozee Paul, Benin
Participants and students of Oba Ewuare Grammar School at a stakeholders’ conference on irregular and illegal migration held in Benin-City.
Former deputy secretary of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization ( NIDO) in Germany, Hon Eddy Duru has disclosed that over 290 Nigerians have lost their lives trying to cross the sea and desert on their way to Europe for greener pastures.
According to him, the figure is based on the UN and IOM statistics for this year.
Hon Duru, a finance consultant made the statement at a stakeholders’ conference held in Oba Ewuare Grammar School, Benin city, urged the students not to embark on irregular migration.
Eddy Duru, the president and founder of RARDUJA International Organization, said it is not wrong for people to travel but that the travel must be legal.
He advised that they should travel with the necessary documents such as, passport, visa, and other vital documents.
He said, “According to the UN and IOM section of statistics this year, Nigeria has lost over 290, trying to cross the sea and desert. In January, 2021, 38 Nigerians were deported from Germany to Nigeria. From those 38 persons, 24 are from Germany, 13 from Austria and one from Hungary.
“Less than two weeks ago, we lost 41 migrants who were trying to cross the desert, off Tunisia Coast. They were on their way to Europe and their boat sank, they all died.”
Lamenting how Covid-19 pandemic has limited his organization’s awareness campaign, Duru disclosed that they cannot go to schools to carry out awareness about the dangers of illegal and irregular migration in Nigeria.
“We cannot go to schools to carry out our awareness campaigns. Even when you do, the school will not be overcrowded with students. We now group them in sections because of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Last year, we were supposed to visit schools, we couldn’t visit many schools we wanted to visit. Thank God we are on Radio programme telling people about the negative sides of irregular migration.’
“We run our Radio programme in Imo, Lagos, Edo, Abuja and others. There is real constraint because we cannot see people one-on-one, again the way we used to talk or speak with the audiences before,” he stressed.
Hon. Eddy Duru who is also a seating counselor representing foreigners in Germany thanked the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki for the role he has played in reducing human trafficking and all other irregular migration in the state.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Joan Ojiewa, the NAPTIP head of public enlightenment, advised students to read and study their books so that they can become self-reliant in future.
Ojiewa who stood-in for the NAPTIP Benin zonal commander, Mrs Ijeoma Uduale, said the agency was established by the federal government to help check the issue of human trafficking in Nigeria.
She said sexual exploitation is one arm of irregular migration. “The video you watch is part of the rise in irregular migration. Human trafficking is one section of irregular migration.”
Edo State National Orientation Agency (NOA) representative, Atta Emema Philip, appealed to students to spread the message from the video that shows how migrants died in the sea and desert, to others.
Atta who stood in for the state director, Mrs. Grace Eseka, told the audience that there are so many negatives impacts associated with irregular migration. He said most of the organs in the body of victims such as, kidneys, livers, hearts and other vital parts are harvested for sale.