The African Union Organizations and their civil society from 25 different African countries have met in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, to deliberate on how to Contribute to the development and change of the execution of the ECOWAS Free Movement and Migration (FMM) Programme.
The meeting, according to NLC Focal Person on Migration, Comrade Eustace Imoyera James, is aimed at how non-state actors can influence the attainment of a rights-based UN Global Compact on Migration, as well as develop practical actions to respond to other migration issues within and outside Africa.
However, participants at the meeting affirmed that migration is delivering gains to migrants, sending, transit and receiving or host economies.
They described it as an historic human, global and ever-continuing phenomenon that cannot be stopped.
Comrade James said while addressing a press conference during the event that the meeting also reaffirmed that over 80 per cent of African migrants are moving within the continent and far more within the sub-region blocs.
He said: “This fact should help in reframing the rather unfortunate mainstream media narrative that tends to suggest that migration and African migrants’ movement are dysfunctional and hurting development, as well as disrupting other continents.
“The current migration challenges, which have contributed to the increase and intense topical global dominance of migration discourse are largely man-made.
“We know and are confident that these challenges can be effectively addressed in humane and just ways that will better facilitate and accelerate the cause of humanity. Thus, genuine and germane efforts and relevant stakeholders should be consciously mobilised to effectively address the current gaps.”
Participants, however, commended and noted that the ECOWAS has robust protocols backed with pragmatic programmes and practice, as well as reforms that have helped and still helping to advance people’s movement and mobility within her blocs.
They advised other African sub-region blocs to adopt and replicate where appropriate and applicable, the migration and mobility facilitating mechanism.
Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said at the parley that it was fed up at the insistence of migrants trying to cross the desert to Europe.
The organisation said its mandate was not to create jobs, but added that whenever it advised the migrants to take to certain jobs in their country, they declined and insisted on going abroad.
“We have seen father, wife and children die in the desert. Many of the migrants refuse the jobs we try to provide for them. They insist on going to USA, or Europe because their brothers in USA are the ones their parents listen to; they have money, go about with beautiful girls, and their children are doing well,” the organisation said.