The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has reported that no fewer than 10,000 Nigerians died between January and May 2017 while trying to illegally migrate through the Mediterranean Sea and the deserts.
PUNCH reported that NIS Assistant Comptroller-General, in charge of training, manpower and development, Maroof Giwa, who spoke in Ilorin, on the sidelines of a training on ‘trafficking in persons/smuggling of migrants at various borders’.
He said 4,900 Nigerians died in the Mediterranean Sea while the rest died while going through the deserts in their bid to cross to Europe.
This is just as the Kwara State Comptroller, NIS, Abiodun Abimbola-Ojo, said the command rescued no fewer than 36 victims of trafficking from 2015 till date.
She also urged people to provide NIS with useful information that would aid the agency to effectively combat trafficking.
Giwa said Nigeria is a member of many international instruments and had signed a number of agreements and treaties, particularly regarding trafficking in persons and smuggling of illegal migrants.
He noted that there is therefore the obligation for the country to implement such agreements, adding that illegal migrants and traffickers (from Nigeria) go through Niger Republic, Mali, Libya and Morocco.
“Smuggling of migrants is taking a front burner in world affairs today. Almost every day, you hear stories of boat capsizing and people trying to reach Europe. Nigerians are dying almost every day.
“This year alone, 4,900 Nigerians died on the Mediterranean route to Europe. There are countless others who died on their way through the deserts; we have even lost count. Many more perished on that route.
“In fact over 10,000 people have died on the Mediterranean route and the deserts. Those who died in the deserts are far more than the dead victims along the Mediterranean route.”