Stakeholders at the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) online summit held on Saturday April 4, 2020 have called on African leaders to initiate financial bonds to fight the ravaging COVID 19 on the continent.
Speakers at the summit themed ‘Migration and Containment of COVID 19’, include the National Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Immigration Service Deputy Controller Sunday James, Senior Superintendent James Kadadzera, the National Spokesman of Malawi Police Authority; Dan Atokolo, Zonal Commandant of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Lagos and Jorge Garlindo, the Public Information Officer of International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nigeria.
The President and Executive Director of JIFORM with over 150 journalists covering migration across the globe, Ajibola Abayomi in a statement issued on Sunday, said the bonds were part of the resolutions of the stakeholders at the summit.
He said, if considered would provide financial leverage to especially the poor nations on the continent to contain the deadly disease.
“We want the African leaders starting from West Africa to first initiate Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bond and at the level of the African Union (AU) to also consider AU bond so that many nations can access the needed funds. This is no time for rhetorics, this risk is high and everyone is a likely victim.
“We fully align ourselves with the position of the National Public Relations Officer of the NIS, DCI Sunday James, that citizens sensitization on movements from Covid-19 vulnerable countries and locally is also very key at this moment.
“This is a trying time for the global community no one single being is free from the threat, we are all vulnerable as human beings. Journalists are not isolated, it is a common enemy that can be eliminated by time, resources, expertise, full adherence to international best practices.
JIFORM wants Africa nations to urgently put in place realistic food distribution chains where lockdown are effected to assist citizens cope with the situation.
“We support the call for medical research and discoveries whether written or tested and certified vaccines to be shared among nations at this moment to be domesticated as solutions in countries according to the dictates of their environments.
“The developed nations, instead of the usual war against especially irregular migrants, they should be allowed and assisted to regularize their status, as provided for in the international law. Nigeria has shown the way forward through e-migrant registration anchored by the NIS.
“We should discourage the circulation of fake news and other sensitive editorial materials not in the interest of nation building. We must remember among other things that we are called to genuinely inform, educate and entertain the audience not only as the fourth estate of realm but as public watchdog,” he said.
IOM launches open South America portal
Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open South America, available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.
The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.
The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.
“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.
“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.
29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM
The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.
About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.
Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.
He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.
Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.
“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”
Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.
“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.
Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.
The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.
FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK
The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.
Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.
Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.
Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.
“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.
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