Home » World International Migrant Day: Improving the health of migrants to unleash the power of migration

World International Migrant Day: Improving the health of migrants to unleash the power of migration

More than 1,000 Nigerians have fallen victim to scams involving foreign job opportunities in the United Kingdom

by Maryam Olaniyi

Every 18th of December 2023 marks the International Migrant Day. This movement began on the 18th of December 1990, when The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was created.

The UN Migration Agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines a migrant as any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of the person’s legal status whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary.

According to an IOM report, there are 11.5 million migrant domestic workers in the world. This represents 17.2 percent of a total estimate of 67.1 million domestic workers globally. This number indicates that the growing needs for personal and household services in many parts of the world are filled by migrant workers.

The United Nations aims to make sure that all migrants and their families are looked after properly. Therefore, they created the convention as a way to achieve this aim and ensure that the rights of all migrants and their families are being met.

The observance is led by IOM as the lead agency on migration in the UN system.

In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly declared the 18th of December as International Migrants Day. Since then, it has been celebrated on the 18th of December each year.

As the whole world celebrated International Migrant Day on Monday, 18 December, the UN while addressing the 2023 theme: “Act Today for a Better Tomorrow for all: Improving the health of migrants to unleash the power of migration” said On International Migrants Day (18 December 2023), reflect on and celebrate the contributions of millions of migrants worldwide.

In the mood of the Celebration, a migrant, Mr Adebayo Oluwatobiloba Olamide speaks with IdanNews on the reason people migrate.

According to him, he opined that people migrate based on uncertainty.

He said, “In my opinion and with my experiences speaking to immigrants, I think people migrate because of uncertainty about the future, especially when bad governance keeps lingering for too long, people tend to lose confidence and trust in governance and want a more stabilized and safe society for themselves and family.

While stating the advantages of migrating he addresses it as a door opener for opportunities for a skilled person.

“ Relocating from one place to another is more difficult than it seems and I think it doesn’t have enough publicity, relocating at first always seems difficult due to different reasons for different people.

“ But the major challenges people encounter while migrating are settling into a new environment, new culture, laws, etc.

“ Therefore it may be difficult for people to adapt at first but with hard work and dedication, things will get better because the system works, and you enjoy the services you pay for.

“ I didn’t encounter any challenges while migrating, it was just a hard decision between should I leave or stay because my business was doing well at the time in Nigeria but the value of the income was nothing to write home about and another challenge is converting naira to pounds and sad to see the depreciation.”

Also, one Mrs Lawal Bolanle who spoke to our correspondent said it’s because of the situation in the country ( Nigeria especially) people migrate.

She said ” People migrate from one country to another to seek greener pastures. Like now in Nigeria, the state situation is disheartening.

“If I have the opportunity, I will leave this country with my family. This country is no longer safe.

Suggesting a solution , Mrs Bolanle stressed that the leaders should look out for their citizens and not their pockets.

She advised the leaders to increase the minimum wage, provide employment for the citizens and provide adequate social amenities to avoid migration Nigeria to other international countries.

” While migrating, people risk their lives. Some people leave their country without knowing what is in place for them at where they were going.

” some people meet with their death in the course of migration”.

In a report, the United Nations Migration Agency, International Organisation for Migration, said more than 1,000 Nigerians have fallen victim to scams involving foreign job opportunities in the United Kingdom.

This was as it advised Nigerians to seek proper information before embarking on any migration.

IOM’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck, disclosed these at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.

Boeck noted that some of the victims lost as much as $10,000 each in their desperate attempts to secure foreign jobs.

He said they are consequently stranded in the UK because some of them lack the means to come back, while others are ashamed of coming back to their families.

“There are some of them who lost over $10,000 only to be given fake employment letters, which allowed them to get visas.

“They get there, present the letters, and the organizations tell them that the letters did not emanate from the organizations. Over a thousand people are affected,” he stated.

He also disclosed that over 260,000 Nigerians had approached the agency in 2023 seeking guidance on how to migrate through regular or approved routes and also undergoing pre-departure medical health assessments.

Boeck added that IOM is working with partners to repatriate thousands of people, including Nigerians, from Tunisia, which has recently placed a ban on migration.

On displacements, Boeck said there has been about a 30 per cent annual increase for the past five years in many states of the North West.

Noting that Zamfara remained the most impacted in this regard, he said the incidents of banditry and other crimes were fueling the increase.

“In Kano, people are displaced within and there are others who have migrated, which is why our offices in Libya and Niger have more migrants originating from Kano,” he stated.

“In 2023, IOM identified and supported 682 victims of trafficking, with a dedicated focus on vulnerable groups such as survivors of gender-based violence, persons with disabilities, and unaccompanied and separated children.

“Collaborating with the Federal Government of Nigeria, IOM facilitated the return of 4,431 Nigerians and supported their reintegration. A total of 2,853 individuals received reintegration assistance, engaging in socio-economic opportunities of their choice.

“IOM’s Migration Health efforts in 2023, including over 260,000 Pre-Departure Medical Health Assessments diagnosing and referring 166 migrants with TB, administering 15,000 vaccine doses, and renovating three public hospitals, exemplified the organization’s commitment to comprehensive healthcare,” he stated.



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