Emeka Pascal, Abuja
The Federal Government has taken a step forward in the effort to boost decent job opportunities and surmount the challenge of countless Nigerian illegal immigrants, some of whom die trying to cross the Sahara and the Mediterranean as the Minister of Labour and Employment as Labour Minister, Sen. Chris Ngige, has unveiled the National Policy on Labour Migration.
He also inaugurated two committees (Technical Working Committee and Social Partner Advisory Committee) for its faithful implementation.
A statement by Director of Press at the Ministry, Samuel Olowookere, said the policy was the first of its kind on the continent.
“This is of utmost concern to the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as no responsible government would sit back and watch the depletion of its human resources which is the most critical factor of production and national development,’’ the Minister said.
Delivering the keynote address at the event which had in attendance, the Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration(IOM) Enira Krdzalic, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union(EU) Richard Young, the Country Director of the International labour Organisation(ILO) Dennis Zulu, Labour Migration representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Justice, Women Affairs, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other relevant government agencies, Sen. Ngige said the risk associated with irregular migration and its impact on Nigeria’s human resources and development necessitated the development of the labour migration policy.
“The risks associated with irregular migration and its impact on the country’s human resources and national development necessitated the development of this coherent policy on labour migration which aims at promoting decent work and respectability of migrant workers.”
He noted that the objective of the policy was to promote the good governance of labour migration, protect immigrant workers as well as their welfare and optimize the benefits of labour migration on development.
The Minister further remarked that the policy conferred Regular Immigrant Status on persons in their countries of destination, saying that the policy was developed with technical and financial support of International Organisation for Migration and the International Labour Organisation.
He added that the framework for achieving the implementation of the policy included “the establishment of job centres for the placement of job seekers into genuine vacancies, notified by employers from across the country and abroad.”
“Towards this end, the Ministry of labour and Employment with technical and financial support from ILO, and IOM and funding from the European Development Fund equipped six functional job centres in Bauchi, Kaduna, Delta, Anambra and Abuja. The job centres provide the platform for matching demand and supply in the labour market.”
Giving the internet web address of the National Electronic Exchange (NELEX) as www.nelexnigeria.com, the Minister further said that Migrants Resource Centres(MRCs) for the provision of migration related information has also been provided at two of the Job Centres in Lagos and Abuja.
Earlier in her remarks, the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration, Ms. Enira Krdzalic said the policy was the product of the 10th European Union Development Fund project entitled, “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria,” revealing that the policy “commenced way back in 2008 with technical support of IOM and the ILO through the participatory process, involving national stakeholders.” He said IOM has been supporting the Nigerian government in the development of initiatives for effective migration management and further described the inauguaration as a landmark. She urged the Ministry to ensure wide dissemination of the policy and build synergy with relevant stakeholders.
Equally in his remarks , the Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union, Richard Young said Nigeria was one of the top five countries of the world with the highest global remittances; about 21 billion dollars by 2012 estimate, noting that Nigeria would benefit immensely from a robust implementation of the Labour Migration policy.
Similarly, the ILO Country Director, Dennis Zulu restated the commitment of the ILO to the success of the policy in Nigeria and re-emphasized the importance of labour Migration policy in the generation of universally acceptable labour practices.