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NLC inaugurates Trade Union Information Guide for migrant workers

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says it has inaugurated the Trade Unions Information Guide, to assist returning migrants and migrant workers return, readmitted and reintegrated into society.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba said this during the inauguration and unveiling of the “Trade Union Information Guide on `Return and Reintegration of Migrants and Migrant Workers” in Nigeria, on Thursday in Abuja.

Wabba said that there were factors causing people, especially young people, to contemplate and undertake desperate and dangerous migrations.

“We are witnessing a situation where the forceful removal and deportation of migrants, noticeably in Europe and North America, and migrant workers, especially in the Middle East, are increasing.

“Equally interesting is the fact that several migrants and migrant workers are committing to returning, with some voluntarily ready to do so.

“Unfortunately, it has been observed over time that several potential returnees find it difficult, frustrating and traumatic to both successfully return and get re-integrated back home.

“One of the challenges encumbering this process has been identified as the dearth of handy and easy-to-understand-and-utilise pieces of Information,’’ he said.

The NLC president said that the situation had made the two group of people susceptible to exploitation, vulnerability and, consequently, the unwillingness to return.

Wabba added that the Congress recognised the human and labour rights of these persons; and considering that these migrants and migrant workers were potential members of the trade unions.

“Therefore, the NLC sees the need to assist and support returning migrants and migrant workers to return, be readmitted and reintegrated home in comfort and dignity.

“This is why this information guide has been produced,’’ he said.

He said the Trade Union Information Guide had been formulated to contribute to, and complement the Standard Operating Procedures on Return and Reintegration, already developed by the Federal Government.

According to him, it is a workers-friendly guide that places migrant workers at the core, and provides necessary links to facilitate an easy Return and Reintegration.

“We are confident that this information guide will serve as a qualitative contribution to ensuring a comfortable and dignified return, and a successful readmission and reintegration of returning migrants and migrant workers.”

He expressed the NLC’s appreciation and commendation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and other partners, both state and non-state actors, for the support in the development and production of the guide.

Also, Mr John Nyamali, Director Employment and Wages, Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that the unveiling of the information guide was part of the process of implementing the ILO FAIRWAY Project.

Nyamali, represented by Mr Raheem Kolawole, noted that the guide would strengthen effectiveness of workers’ organisations for enhanced engagement in the overall national labour migration.

According to him, records have shown that many of the Private Employment Agencies (PEAs) operating in the country are insufficiently regulated.

“This situation creates a platform for the promotion of Human Trafficking and other abuses under the guise of a managed labour migration scheme,’’ he said.

He also said that the establishment of the International Labour Migration Division in the ministry, had played a major role in sensitisation and advocacy.

Nyamali added that the Pre-departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) of the ministry was to ensure smooth and orderly departure of migrants and migrant workers to the destination countries, in line with what the NLC was doing.

He challenged stakeholders in charge of migration management in Nigeria, to work together through advocacy and sensitisation.

According to him, migration represents a growing challenge as Nigeria occupies an important position in the migration landscape in Africa.

“The Ministry recognises the need for better management of organised labour migration in view of its contributions to the economic and social development of the country.

“This is also as well as to combat the increasing challenges of irregular migration, exploitative practices, forced labour, smuggling, human trafficking and protection of the right of migrant workers through the trade union voice,’’ he said.

Also, Vanessa Phala, ILO Country Director to Nigeria said that the ILO, under the Fairway Project, had collaborated in the implementation and development of the information guide form migrants.

Phala, also represented by Mr Austin Erameh, National Project Coordinator Fairway Project, said the guide was also developed through joint capacity building, consultations and sensitisations.

“We believe this guide will go a long way in addressing the absence of information for returning migrants and migrant workers in the country,’’ Erameh said. (NAN)

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