Edo State – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, opened on March 5 one migrant resource center (MRC) in Benin City Edo State, Nigeria. The MRC serves as a “one-stop shop” where intending, actual and returning migrants can access relevant migration information and a wide range of services through direct assistance, or online services to enable them make informed decisions thereby minimizing the risks and maximizing the benefits of their migration experience.
“For the government of Nigeria, managing migration represents a growing challenge as Nigeria occupies an important position in the migration landscape in Africa,” said the Minister of Labour and Employment Dr Chris Ngige in his opening remark at the launch . “The government of Nigeria recognises the need for organised labour migration in view of its contributions to economic and social development of the country,” he added.
The establishment of the first centers in the country started in 2014 and support the efforts of the government of Nigeria to promote safe migration, deter irregular migration, equip migrants with information and knowledge to make informed choices, and better address the immediate needs of returning migrants.
“An additional MRC in Edo state is to complement the support services being provided by the MRCs established in Abuja and Lagos state,” said IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria Enira Krdzalic. Krdzalic reaffirmed IOM’s commitment in supporting the government’s efforts in managing organized labour migration in and from Nigeria. Edo State is considered the main region of origin for most irregular migrants in Nigeria and has the highest numbers of returning migrants in the country.
“MRC will not only enable the intending migrants to make informed decisions but also help in achieving our objectives of raising awareness on the issues of safe migration, irregular migration such as migrant smuggling and human trafficking and its consequences,” said the Hon. Commissioner of the National Commission for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (NCFRMI) Sadiya Umar Farouq in her opening remarks.
The MRC will use variety of approaches, including legal counselling, information dissemination through dedicated hotlines and websites to ensure that migrants and potential migrants makes informed choices relating to their individual needs. The establishment of the MRC is within the framework of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on “Migration Governance and Reintegration in Nigeria” funded by the European Union and implemented by IOM.