By Omotolani Alamu
All agencies of government concerned with movement of people to work hand in hand with the media in their campaigns against human trafficking, participants at a three day media roundtable on Smuggling of Migrants (SOM), held in Kaduna, have stated.
From the issued communiqué to the media at the end of a three-day roundtable workshop held in Kaduna. All participants called for better synergy among the agencies.
The workshop, which which was funded by the European Union, was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
The communiqué of the workshop titled “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria” described SOM as a threat to national security, economy, socio-political sanity and well-being of the country.
The participants, while agreeing that “migration is an inevitable phenomenon with far-reaching advantages when done within the context of available conventions,” however, observed that these advantages and opportunities are being lost to irregular migration being perpetrated by Smugglers of Migrants (SOM).
Officials noted that cases of smuggled migrants continue to rise, even as there are emerging routes and destinations used by smugglers of migrants aside Europe and America, these includes the Middle East and some Asian countries.
They particularly called on the Nigeria Immgration Service to be effective in its messages and advised the NIS to develop a sound Social Media engagement strategy to counter the narratives on SOM.
It noted the need for agencies managing migration in the country to be proactive with the media for effective campaign against SOM, saying there is lack information between the agencies coordinating Migration Management in Nigeria and the media.
Officials of the NIS identified women and children as the most vulnerable victims of human traffickers, and that the rise of smugglers of migrants is a consequence of improper and ineffective information gathering and dissemination method.
Participants also harp on the need for media organizations to establish Migration Desks for effective reportage of migration and related issues
They also called on the NIS and Foreign Affairs Ministry to develop effective and dynamic ways of engaging the diaspora communities to mitigate SOM.