Press Release —Local August 16, 2021

Providing Immediate Socio-Economic Relief to Vulnerable Migrants Impacted by Covid-19 in Northern Nigeria

IOM - Humanitarian Affairs project launch

Abuja – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management (FMHDSD), launched a new project in Abuja, Nigeria, to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst vulnerable returned migrants through the provision of immediate relief allowance and basic items.

Implemented within the framework of IOM’s 2020 COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) over a period of nine months, the project primarily focuses on the third strategic priority of the SPRP, which aims at ensuring access to basic services and commodities, including health care, protection and social services to populations affected by the pandemic. The project was designed to complement actions funded under the UN in Nigeria COVID-19 Basket Fund by focusing on returned migrants residing in the country’s northern parts.

In launching the project, the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said, “this project showcases the Federal Government’s commitment to tackling emerging issues and challenges that may confront the protection of livelihoods of returnees and protection of migrants in our country. The vulnerable groups, most affected, include the elderly, chronically ill, people living with disabilities, women and children, unemployed youth, refugees and migrants who have lost access to livelihood opportunities. The project aims to target at least 450 people.

As part of its commitment to the Federal Government, the Government of Switzerland pledged to continue supporting the Federal government respond to the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

“We are very pleased to be supporting the project that we are launching today. The activities are crucial to ease the hardships faced by vulnerable migrants in the North of Nigeria”, said George Steiner, the Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland, whom Ms Ojoma Ali Program Officer – Migration represented.

Activities to be implemented include providing immediate support to vulnerable returnees, including victims of trafficking, Gender-based violence and those needing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, in the form of relief items (food hampers, hygiene kits, protection or self-care kits for migrants) and relief allowances (cash assistance) amongst others. In his remarks, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Frantz Celestin stated that “IOM and the Ministry will use the defined eligibility criteria for the selection of beneficiaries that would benefit from this initiative. At the end of this project, the major objective is that returnees and their family members have improved resilience to the immediate impact of COVID-19 through financial and in-kind relief support”.

The project “Providing Immediate Socio-Economic Relief to Vulnerable Migrants Impacted by COVID-19 in the Northern States of Nigeria is funded by the Government of Switzerland.

For more information, please get in touch with Mariam Owoeye at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +09062421091, Email: mowoeye@iom.int

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