Martin Uhomoibhi, a former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), revealed on Monday, that about 602,000 Nigerians migrated to Europe in 2016 through the Saharan desert while 27,000 died on transit.
Uhomoibhi disclosed this at the government house, Birnin-Kebbi, when the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Michael Arrion visited Kebbi Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
He stated that 68 per cent of the dead immigrants were graduates of Nigerian higher education institutions.
“You can imagine that trend! We are not at war like Syria or Iraq. Why are we migrating as if there is war?”
“No one says we should not migrate abroad, especially for studies. But our destiny is here. Nobody will help Nigeria except we help ourselves,” Uhomoibhi said.
Arrion told the Governor Bagudu that European countries would always welcome legitimate African immigrants because EU’s interest in Africa’s growth and development.
He added: “About seven million children are born yearly in Nigeria alone while five million children are born in European countries. We would continue to partner with Africa, especially Nigeria on our common historical relationship.”
The Kebbi governor stressed that most Nigerians love their country and it was always a hard decision for majority to leave Nigeria to an unknown destination usually in search of greener pastures.
He also called the EU to set up universities and industries in Nigeria to curb the rate of illegal immigration to the EU saying, “If they are looking for greener pastures, it will be within their reach and they will stop taking unnecessary risks.”
Source: Guardian Nigeria