BENIN CITY – The international Organisation for Migration (IOM) has concluded plans to set up Migration Clubs in schools across Edo State.
As a prelude to this, a Town Hall meeting has been held with key stakeholders to establish linkages on how to integrate migration discussions in schools for the purpose of raising awareness and knowledge on the risk of irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, according to Wintana Tarekegn, IOM Head of Benin City sub-office.
The key stakeholders at the town hall meeting included, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); The National Orientation Agency (NOA); State Ministry of Education and Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON).
The town hall meeting with the theme: “Integrating Migration Discussions in Schools” was also aimed at promoting the tenets of safe migration practices, as well as provide avenue for social cohesion for returned migrants to reduce stigma and help them fit back into the society.
She said that IOM is currently implementing several awareness-raising interventions in Nigeria, including Migrants-as-Messengersdesigned to create positive behavioral change among potential migrants and their families and friends to make safe and informed migration related decisions.
In her remarks, the Director of Inspectorate Department’, Ministry of Education, Dr Osamuyi Oni Ehlkhosuehi disclosed that migration and trafficking in persons have been mainstreamed and integrated into the school’s curriculum.
She expressed dissappointment that despite this, irregular migration and human trafficking still thrives.
She however noted that the education sector is recognised as a change agent, while pledging the ministry’s commitment to ensuring that schools are safe and safe and the students are not trafficked.
State Director of NOA, Mrs Grace Eseka in her presentation, themed: “The Need for Migration Clubs in Schools,” said that Migration Clubs would empower members with relevant up to date information on migration.
She said that it also provide avenues for students to participate in an informal learning environment devoid of of fear or examination.
The Benin Zonal Director of NAPTIP, Mrs. Ijeoma Uduak in her presentation themed: ” Reflecting TIP Realities in Schools,” described IOM as a reliable organisation on human trafficking and irregular migration matters.
Chairman of APSON, Bishop Elakhe Imomchede Ohis said that private school owners have many challenges occasioned by government policies that would armtwist them not to be able to set up effective migration clubs in their respective schools.
Elijah Elaigwu, a Programme Officer with IOM in his presentation, said that potential migrants are generally distrustful of information on migration
Source: The Nigerian Observer