Monday, October 1, 2018

Focus more on migration, MEPN urges journalists

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Migration Enlightenment Project Nigeria (MEPN), has urged Nigerian journalists to focus more on the dangers of irregular immigration. The advice was given on Sunday by Femi Awoniyi, director of MEPN, at the 12th Nigeria Media Nite-Out Award 2018 at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. “Too many Nigerians are dying daily in the course of irregularly migrating to Europe,” said Awoniyi, who also publishes The African Courier in Germany. “Too many are stranded in Europe, unable to obtain legal residency and obliged to return home. Too many are stranded in the transit countries such as Libya where they’re exposed horrendous human rights abuses. Too many are still bracing the risks and dangers to reach Europe through the desert and the Mediterranean. “These young men and women are mostly victims of human traffickers and smugglers whose main weapon is disinformation. Studies show that the majority of irregular migrants receive most of their information from traffickers and smugglers, who seek to mislead and manipulate them. “Irregular migrants are often unaware and without defences in the face of the false information given to them by human traffickers. These smugglers lure thousands of people to undertake journeys without any preparation or knowledge, journeys filled with extreme hardships and inhumane abuses.” He also said “irregular migrants discourage foreign investment in their countries of origin” and that even holders of valid visas are not guaranteed entry in many countries. Giving example of Germany that is set to deport 30,000 Nigerians, Awoniyi said that while many countries are discouraging irregular migration, the media can check the activities of traffickers “by providing accurate and reliable information” on migration. “Only the media can sustainably defeat traffickers’ campaign of disinformation and deceit by providing accurate and reliable information,” he said. “It’s in the national interest to help bring this ongoing tragedy to an end. If we say these are not my friends or families or they don’t even belong to my social class and choose to watch the tragic drama without acting, we will be poorer for it in spirit.”

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