The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), yesterday unveiled the Observatory Report on Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) at the Headquarters in Abuja.
The Service Public Relations Officer, DCI Amos Okpu in a statement said that the Observatory Report sought to unravel the dynamics of Smuggling of Migrants activities through and to Nigeria between 2019 and 2021.
Declaring the event open, Comptroller General of NIS Isah Jere Idris, assured of the Service’s commitment to contain the menace of Migrants Smugglers, stressing that the Service has fully domesticated the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air in the Immigration Act 2015 (Sections 65-98), which is statutorily empowered with the necessary legal instrument to prosecute Smugglers of Migrants.
The CG who was represented by Deputy Comptroller General in charge of Visa and Residency, DCG Iam Haliru ,thanked the Canadian government and other development partners for their impactful interventions in the fight against the Smuggling of Migrants and other cross-border criminal activities.
DCG Haliru ,reiterated the continuous commitment of the Service to collaborate with critical stakeholders in efforts at achieving orderly, humane and responsive migration.
He noted that the Service would look at the report closely with a view to enabling processes and procedures to frontally address the issues raised.
Earlier in his remarks, the Country Representative of UNODC, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, described the report as insightful and useful in understanding and addressing the unfolding migratory realities in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
He noted that an interesting element of the Report was the steadily decreasing cases of Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria since 2018 and called for the sustenance of the tempo with a view to wiping the menace out of the country’s migratory discourse.
Similarly, the representative of the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria Ms Majorie Lubin, appreciated the depth of the report and pledged her government’s continuous partnerships and collaborations with the Service and other relevant stakeholders in better migration management.
Okpu noted: “the presentation of the Observatory Report demonstrates another giant move by the Service, UNODC and indeed other partners to offer reliable inferences on the unfolding migratory realities in the country. An instructive finding of the Research is that 75 per cent of Nigerians on the move surveyed during the work stated that they had planned to use Migrant Smugglers or Travel Facilitators when they were preparing for their journey as compared to 21 per cent who said they had not planned to do so. The Report further indicated that 72 per cent of those surveyed stated that someone or something influenced their decision to migrate while just 9 per cent of that group cited Smugglers as the most important influence. On gender profiling of Migrant Smugglers, the Report stated that 78 per cent are men, 19 per cent are Women and 3 per cent both. The Observatory Report was done by some researchers under the auspices of UNODC.”
Okpu , said as part of efforts to increase public awareness of Migrants Smuggling, the 2022 Nationwide Sensitisation Programme on Smuggling of Migrants was flagged-off during the event.
Other major event highlights included the unveiling of the Observatory Report Document and goodwill messages from representatives of relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Interior, FIIAPP-ATIPSOM, ICMPD and NAPTIP among others.
The event was attended by representatives of the Embassies of Denmark, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and the Inspector General of Police, (represented by CP Babatola Afolabi), NACTAL and the Refugees Commission represented by Mr. Titus Murdakai.