The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), says it has over the last two weeks sensitised over 18,000 persons on the ills of irregular migration and human trafficking in Edo and Lagos States through Mobile Cinema programme.
That United Nations agency which provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees, and migrant workers said the sensitisation was carried out in 20 communities in the two states.
Cyprine Cheptepkeny, Edo State, Awareness Raising Officer of the agency made the disclosure in Benin City at the grand finale of an event tagged, ‘Migrants As Messengers: Telling Migration Stories through Film.’
Cheptepkeny represented by Elijah Elaigwu, Edo State project assistant, said 10 communities were reached in Edo state and 10 in Lagos State.
She listed some of the communities visited in the two states to include Alimosho and Ikorodu in Lagos state and Uromi, Ekpoma, Irrua, Ovia North- East and Oredo Local Government Areas.
While noting that Edo State accounts for 35 percent of the total number of persons that travelled irregularly including trafficking in persons in the country, opined that the sensitisation through mobile cinema becomes necessary to provide a true life account of returnees’ experience in the desert and Mediterranean Seas.
The Edo State, Awareness Raising Officer, who described irregularly migration and human trafficking as anti- economic and human development, advised the potential migrants to acquire the relevant and necessary documents for travelling legally.
According to her, we are saying that you should travel the right way. When you travel the right way, it will be safer for you, it is good for the economic not just for Nigeria but even the destination you are going to.
“Sometimes, we carried out activities like the one we are showcasing today so that the people will understand the danger associated with irregular migration and trafficking in persons, and we are hoping that the people here will take the message back homes to their loved ones to educate them as well.
“The contents we are showing are testimonies of returned migrants that have traveled and have come back home.
“It will interest you to know that some Nigerians are part of those who are involved in the activities of irregular migration and human trafficking as testified by some of these returned migrants in the documentaries we are watching today. We are hoping that the message will get out there, so that the people will understand the need to travel in the right way.
“We are not telling them not to travel but we are saying travel the right way. Get all your documentation, get all the necessary things you need to get and ensure that you follow the necessary protocols because every destination country have certain protocols when it comes to travelling and migration,” she said.
The Mobile Cinema showcased to the people are ‘Beyond Borders’, a documentary of a testimony of a returnee from Uromi in Esan North-East Local Government and ‘Desert Crossing’, a short film showcasing the life experience of migrants in the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.