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Nigerian Government speaks on 26 women found in Spanish warship

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, bemoaned the reported loss of the 26 Nigerian lives across the Mediterranean Sea at the weekend.

Responding to the development, Dabiri-Erewa said the journey had become more risky on account of the use of smaller but more dangerous boats by the traffickers, a situation she said had been exacerbated by the increasing indifference by European authorities to the plight of those on the sea.

While appealing for increased awareness on the dangers and the opportunities available at home, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said the present administration had in the last six months, returned close to 5,000 Nigerians under the voluntary repatriation scheme.

While noting that she was, however, yet to get an official confirmation on the development, she said: “We are yet to get official reaction on it, but if it is true, it is very, very unfortunate. 
“We have been saying it for a very long time that these dangerous journeys are not worth it. It is still a problem of ignorance and we have to do more about awareness and now, it is getting more dangerous because the boats being used are smaller, so there is every likelihood of drowning in these smaller boats. “Secondly, the authorities at the other end are not too anxious to save them anymore, so more often than not, they are going to be left to drown. So, in the last six months, this administration has brought down almost 5,000 voluntary returnees, and some of them have gone into productive ventures and have found ways of surviving. Some are even being enrolled in the N-Power programme. 
“My appeal is that it is not worth risking your life for. Even when you get there, if you succeed, there is no better life there. 
“So, what we need is more awareness on the dangers of this kind of migration. No matter what, it is not better there and these people pay for the journey, why don’t you use that money to do something better here? 
“It is tragic but we need to keep emphasising that it is not worth it and it is going to get more dangerous with the use of smaller boats for the journey.”

Also reacting, Public Relations Officer, National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons, NAPTIP, Mr Josiah Emerole, said: “That is part of the danger of illegal migration. We have been preaching that people should travel through normal routes whenever they want to travel. ‘’We believe that if people migrate appropriately, we will not be having such incidences. It is also important to investigate properly to know whether the bodies are even those of Nigerians. Right now, we are not sure of the nationalities of the dead you are talking about. ‘’Our message is that Nigerians should stop illegal movements out of the country. If you want to move outside Nigeria, it is your right but you must do it appropriately by going through the normal routes and with the appropriate documentation.”