Poverty not root cause of illegal migration – German envoy

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By Chinenye Offor

The German government has said that poverty is not responsible for illegal migration to Europe.

The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Annett Gunther, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

According to her, poverty cannot be the root cause of irregular migration because people who migrate to Europe are not the poorest citing the North East as an example.

“The people who migrate to Europe are not the poorest.

“You have a situation where people from the very poor like in North East Nigeria where there is conflict and poverty, amongst others.

“What happens there is displacement; regional migration.

“They go to neighbouring countries because they cannot afford to go to Europe.

“They do not have the money for the agents who smuggle them through illegal routes.

“The people who have the money and decide to go to Europe are usually kind of educated and have some money. They’re not the poorest.

“I will not say poverty is the root cause of migration either legal or illegal.

“Many people who migrate – even if they are not the poorest – are still looking for a better life – better life for their children, better education and others,” she said

She stressed the need for the government to address the shortage or lack of basic amenities such as health, education, security, and jobs, to tackle illegal migration to Europe.

She said that the provision of basic social amenities would reduce the desire by young people to risk their lives going through the wrong and dangerous routes to get to Europe in search of greener pastures.

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“I think we have to work on that – what we can call the root causes of illegal migration. The government should try to give them what they are looking for.

“And I think the current government is very much aware of these problems and is working on them.

“These are the areas we have to work on, to provide the services that these people are looking for in their country, to develop the Nigerian economy and also provide those jobs that the young people are looking for in Europe,” she said.

Speaking further, the envoy stated that Germany is exploring legal ways by which migrants can come to the country.

“Legal migration is perfectly okay because Germany is also looking to boost its workforce.

“That is why we want to open up more legal ways to prevent people from taking the risk and following those potentially deadly routes through the Mediterranean Sea and others. ( NAN) (www.nan.ng )

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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