The remittances from Nigerian migrants have increased to about $35 million dollars in 2016, the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration, IOM, Enira Krdzalic, says.
She made this known during the Annual Migration Dialogue on Tuesday in Abuja to mark this year’s International Migrants Day.
Ms. Krdzalic said according to the World Bank reports, the significant increase of remittances of Nigerian migrants from $21 million in 2015 made it the second largest recipient of remittances in Africa.
She said that on that note, Nigeria ranked the fifth largest recipient of remittances in the world from its citizens who sent home money to relatives and friends.
“According to the World Bank report, remittances have reached levels nearly three times higher than official development corporation funds with global figures of remittances still expected to grow.
“Remittances have been expected to grow at an average of 8 per cent annually in the period from 2013 to 2016, to about 700 billion dollars in 2016,” she said.
Ms. Krdzalic explained that migration did not have negative impacts on nations but also had positive impacts when done through the due process.
She said that the aim of the joint initiative was not to stop migration but to work together to ensure that migration process was safer and better managed.
The chief of mission said migration should be an informed choice by migrants with genuine reasons rather than a desperate leap into the unknown by embarking on dangerous trips to the “other side’’.
She added that migration could be made a story of hope, future, and improvement rather than a tragedy and death, which was why the advocacy against dangerous migration was the centre of IOM campaign.
Ms. Krdzalic said this had further re-validated the urgent need for key stakeholders including policy makers to come together and design an appropriate response mechanism to strengthen policy response.
She said they also have to agree on strategic approach for mainstreaming migration into the national development agenda, considering the role of migration in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a remark, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said that migration was not a crime but healthy for integration and development of nations.
He said: “It becomes a challenge when it is done illegally, desperately and dangerously which is why the focus should be on measure to address and manage the scourge of illegal migration.”
He said if not properly managed, people would use the opportunity to perpetuate criminal acts like human trafficking, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking amongst others.
Also speaking, Abike Dabiri, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, said there should be sensitisations and stringent measures to discourage youths on illegal migration.
She said Nigerians should be dissuaded from going through hostile circumstances in a bid for greener pastures as “the other side is not as green as they think”.
The presidential aide said a lot of Nigerians had been killed and others on death row in foreign countries just for being illegal migrants.
The programme is funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation within the framework of the Nigeria-Swiss Partnership on Migration and Implementation.
The programme is implemented by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs.