February 22, 2024

Civil Society Organizations Educate Nigerians on Seven EU Migration Directives

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Civil Society Organizations Educate Nigerians on Seven EU Migration
Directives

By Prosper Okoye

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have said that the campaign to
discourage irregular migration to European Union (EU) countries would
achieve significant success, as the strategy of educating prospective
Nigerian migrants on the EU seven legal migration directives has been
adopted.

The Executive Director of the Patriotic Citizen Initiatives, Osita
Osemene said in an interview during a two-day workshop
designed to teach CSOs about these directives that the conventional
method, which solely focused on raising awareness about the dangers of
irregular migration, has proven to be less effective.

“Despite the campaigns over the years, people still embark on
dangerous journeys, acquire fake visas, and get deceived by travel
agents. Instead of obtaining a visa to stay in the EU, they
unknowingly secure tourist visas, leading them to become stranded and
fall into irregular status. We have found that a significant driver of
this occurrence is the lack of information about how and what the
owners of the country require for entry,” he said.
A recent international migration survey shows that 86 percent of
potential Nigerian migrants are unaware of the EU migration options.
Mr. Osemene, who is the Nigerian Technical Assistant to the
International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and
Public Policies (FIIAPP) project said that the workshop idea was
initiated by EU countries.
“They have assembled CSOs from various parts of Nigeria to train them
on the legal pathway to migration, providing the general framework and
directives needed.
“Those trained will conduct step-down training in their local
communities, in addition to offering pre-travel counseling.
“You can’t ask people not to migrate; it is their right,” he maintained.
“The narrative is changing. Instead of merely advising against
following an irregular pathway or trusting fraudulent travel agents,
we will now provide knowledge about the directives.
“By educating individuals on these directives, they can discern fake
opportunities that deviate from the established guidelines.
“When you understand that the EU directives offer opportunities for
travel through contractual agreements, research, academic endeavors,
volunteering programs, or family reunification, and you are aware of
the necessary documents required for visa applications, you won’t be
swayed by promises like ‘I will handle it for you.’
“Knowing the terms outlined in the directives is crucial because
failure to adhere to them can result in serious consequences for which
you alone will bear the responsibility,” he explained, while calling
for the establishment and localization of migration centers in all
parts of the country to implement the new strategy.
Mr. Osemene debunked the notion that traveling through the irregular
route is cheaper.
“It is more expensive, and it is not only about the funds; it also
involves your health and many other factors. You will pay dearly for
it as an irregular migrant,” he said.
He added that the seminar would open up more channels to deliberate
with EU authorities to include Nigeria, like other third-world
countries, in the opportunities outlined in the directive.

Disparities in Treatment for Nigerians:

In an interactive session, CSOs highlighted that Nigerians are not
afforded the same privileges as individuals in other third-world
countries concerning migration, work opportunities, and asylum. “There
are many restrictions that are placed on us as a country. If you read
through most work opportunity adverts, you see that Nigerians are
barred from applying,” Executive Director of Smiles Africa International Youth Development, Purpose Osamwonyi, said

Similarly, Bose Aggrey, the Executive Director of Web of Heart Foundation, shared
a story about someone deported from the UK after 33 years. She also
recalled a time when 55,000 job openings for third-world countries
coincided with the deportation of about 14,000 Nigerians from Germany.
“This made me question why there was encouragement for an additional
55,000 people to move to Germany when there were already deportations
happening. I argued that those who had already gone through processing
and training could benefit from leniency, skill improvement, and
legitimization of their status. However, it was explained that while
this idea has humanitarian merit, putting it into practice might
continue an undesirable pattern.”

Anticipated Outcomes of the Seminar:

Emmanuel Sule, the Executive Director of the Center for Development
and Cultural Interchange, said that the recommendations formulated
would foster safe and regular migration in Nigeria. Some of these
recommendations include:
FIIAPP should ensure support in creating a migrant information center
among the participating CSOs; FIIAPP should provide support for the
translation of the seven legal directives into local languages for
easy understanding; The EU should ensure that the regular migration
pathway is easily accessible to prospective migrants; Inclusion of
Nigerians in all socio-economic opportunities open to third-world
countries; The EU should provide support to returnees by offering
skills and training for their reintegration, while also assisting
those who wish to return to the EU through the regular pathway.

Sule emphasized the significance of the gathering, noting that it
served as an eye-opener to previously unknown European Union policies.
He also highlighted the impact of this newfound awareness, stating
that it would enhance their efforts to educate Nigerians on legal
migration pathways. He believes this could deter individuals from
embarking on perilous journeys through the desert and the
Mediterranean Sea, where many have tragically lost their lives in
their pursuit of reaching Europe.

“The seminar, organized by the International and Ibero-American
Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) with the
support of the European Union, has played a crucial role in shedding
light on these policies and facilitating discussions to address
migration challenges in Nigeria, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Morocco,
Senegal, Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, where the program is implemented.”

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