By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has called for deeper collaboration with media outfits and practitioners in disseminating the right information on migration.
IOM Chief of Mission Frantz Celetine disclosed in Abuja on Tuesday that the role of the media was very crucial to getting the right messages across to the right people.
Speaking at an interactive session with reporters in Abuja, the IOM chief pointed out that it was unlikely for its target audience to get information from official reports, hence the important role of the media.
He, therefore, called on the media to get directly involved in the work of IOM to help address issues of migration in Nigeria.
“IOM would like to use this dialogue to facilitate your direct involvement in the dissemination of credible information on migration in support of its efforts to ensure orderly, dignified, and safe migration.
“Maintaining good media relation is indispensable and contribute to IOM’s daily work.
“IOM will continue to work with you to shed light on the plight of the people, and the often-hidden opportunities that arise from migration.
“Governments, migrants, potential migrants, and average citizens are much more likely to hear about IOM’s work through the media than through official reports.
“The role of media in achieving IOM’s objectives is crucial.
“Hence, the need for information flow built on cordial relationship between media outlets and IOM Nigeria.
“IOM is committed to working with journalists who will act as conduits of the Organisation’s message,” he said.
Celestin described the media as a very relevant part of all aspects of human endeavour, including promoting issues of safe and regular migration as well as discourage irregular migration.
He therefore expressed great conviction that with the support of the media some of the challenges faced by migrants, returnees, internally displaced persons, refugees can be addressed.
He said that the media “holds” the key to addressing other such issues such as stigmatisation, harassment, misinformation, and vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation.
Giving insights into the work of the IOM, he said that the mission in Nigeria “focuses on three broad pillars: Migration Data Collection and Management, Preparedness, Response, Transition and Recovery, as well as Facilitated Migration and Migration Management.
“Under our facilitated and migration management pillar, we work with the government to promote orderly and humane migration management.
“IOM supports the Federal Government through Migrant Protection Assistance programming, Labour Mobility and human development, Migration health, and Policy frameworks and coordination.
“IOM has supported the return of over 22,000 Nigerian migrants since 2017 and reintegrated over 11,000 migrants in the country,” he said.
Celestin added that between January and May 2021, almost 20,000 migrants benefited from IOM health assessments before travelling to various countries.
He also pointed out that IOM introduced the Migration Information Data Analysis System (MIDAS) in Nigeria to strengthen the Federal government’s ability to process individuals’ identities when entering or exiting.
He added that MIDAS has been installed at 32 locations, 14 land borders, four seaports, eight state commands, the NIS Headquarters, and five international airports.
He said that the IOM had series of activities ongoing, stressing that without the media, such activities could happen unnoticed.