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Deceased Nigerians cremated in India as citizens knock govt’s evacuation plan

India may have stopped accepting dead bodies in their morgues following the panic and high death rate caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of accepting and keeping dead bodies in morgues, the Asian country, it was gathered has resorted to cremating them apparently as part of measures to check the spread.

A Nigerian, of Imo State origin who died there in the early hours of Tuesday was said to have been cremated (see video). The deceased’s case is said to be one of  many of such cases since the coronavirus challenge began.

As his remains were being taken to where they would be cremated, his kinsmen who followed those carrying him in a stretcher prayed for the repose of his soul.

“Rest in peace brother,” some of them said while some who believed that his death was not natural prayed that whoever was responsible for his demise would also not be spared.

The plight of the citizens have been blamed on the sluggishness of the Nigerian government in carrying out its plan to evacuate the citizens from different parts of the world, especially, countries that are badly hit by the Covid-19.

READ  Rahul Gandhi makes an appeal as migrants march home amid lockdown

The patron of the All India Nigerian Students and Community Association(AINSCA) Engineer James, while condemning the evacuation arrangement described the challenge posed by the pandemic as massive.

“The conditions given by the government are not good for  the beleaguered citizens. Many of the citizens planning to come home are drained financially. Many people have not earned a dime since this problem started because of the lockdown.

“One of our people died early Tuesday morning. His remains were rejected in all the mortuaries we  took him to. They cremated his remains the way they did to some others who died  earlier.

“We are grateful to the India Prime Minister for his efforts in containing the spread. We are also very grateful to the Nigerian  Ambassador here, Major General Chris Eze (Rtd)  and the president of our association for their efforts in making sure that Nigerians don’t lack food.”

President of Ohaneze Youth Council , Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, who is currently in India berated the government for compounding the woes of the citizens living abroad.

“The federal government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NIDCOM as a matter of urgency should review the conditions given to Nigerians willing to come back home and save the citizens from dying like fowls and their remains burnt like bush meat by the India authorities. The government’s position does not show any willingness to evacuate the citizens. They have been on this matter for the past four weeks and nothing tangible has been done not even in China where the citizens are daily exposed to all manner of brutality and inhuman treatment.  This is time for action and not talk show.

READ  IOM releases results of largest survey on drivers of migration in Bangladesh

“The government is asking the citizens to  pay for where they will be isolated but did they ask the Chinese doctors they imported into the country to pay for where they were isolated? It is unfortunate that they honour and respect foreigners more than they do for the citizens.”

Concerned by what the government has done with the donations it has received, Isiguzoro asked: “What exactly have they done with all the donations they have received from individuals, corporate bodies and international organisations when they cannot provide isolation centres that are critical to the management of the virus?
“The government’s action speaks volumes. It sends and dangerous signals to the citizens both at home and abroad that Nigeria is not a country that can be relied upon in times of crisis. Let the government wake up to its responsibilities before it’s too late.  They should bear in mind that Nigerians are watching and would ask them to account for every penny that they have received   to combat the pandemic.”

 

READ  How Nigeria 'imports, spreads' COVID-19

 

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Netherlands, IOM launch Global Migration Initiative to protect people on the move

COMPASS will provide vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children access to a broad range of protection and assistance services.

 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands launched the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions initiative (COMPASS) at the beginning of 2021. COMPASS is a global initiative, in partnership with 12 countries, designed to protect people on the move, combat human trafficking and smuggling, and support dignified return while promoting sustainable reintegration.

The initiative is centred on a whole-of-society approach which, in addition to assisting individuals, will work across all levels – households, communities, and the wider communities – and encompasses the following partner countries: Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

“We want to mobilize families, peers and communities to encourage informed and safe migration decisions, protect migrants, and help those returning home reintegrate successfully,” said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department of Migration Management at IOM.

READ  UNHCR supports release of 434 asylum-seekers from immigration detention  in Mexico

“One key component is also undermining the trafficking and smuggling business models through the promotion of safe alternatives and information sharing to reduce the risks of exploitation and abuse by these criminal networks.” Vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children, will have access to a broad range of protection and assistance services such as mental health and psychosocial support, while migrants in transit who wish to return home will be supported with dignified return and reintegration.

Community level interventions will focus on improving community-led efforts to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and support sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. COMPASS will work with national and local governments to enable a conducive environment for migrant protection, migration management and international cooperation on these issues.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to launch the COMPASS programme in cooperation with IOM, an important and longstanding partner on migration cooperation,” said Marriët Schuurman, Director for Stability and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

READ  Coronavirus: Nigerian doctor, wife die within 10 days in UK

“The programme is a part of the Dutch comprehensive approach to migration with activities that contribute to protection and decreasing irregular migration. Research and data gathering are also important components, and we hope that the insights that will be gained under COMPASS will contribute to broader knowledge sharing on migration and better-informed migration policies.”, added Schuurman. The initiative has a strong learning component, designed to increase knowledge and the uptake of lessons learned, both within the programme and beyond its parameters. COMPASS will actively contribute to global knowledge that supports countries in managing migration flows and protecting vulnerable migrants such as victims of trafficking. The implementation of COMPASS is set to start soon.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, as the donor to the COMPASS initiative, pledges its active support to partner countries to improve migration cooperation mechanisms within its long-term vision. 

IOM, the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, contributes its expertise as the technical implementation partner to the initiative. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners in its dedication to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. 

READ  How Nigeria 'imports, spreads' COVID-19

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A child, 40 others drown in shipwreck off Tunisia

Photo: Mediterranean Sea

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Sidi Mansour, in southeast Tunisia, yesterday evening. The bodies of 41 people, including at least one child, have so far been retrieved.

According to reports from local UNHCR and IOM teams, three survivors were rescued by the Tunisian National Coast Guard. The search effort was still underway on Friday. Based on initial information, all those who perished were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

This tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to enhance and expand State-led search and rescue operations across the Central Mediterranean, where some 290 people have lost their lives so far this year. Solidarity across the region and support to national authorities in their efforts to prevent loss of life and prosecute smugglers and traffickers should be a priority.

Prior to yesterday’s incident, 39 refugees and migrants had perished off the coast near the Tunisian city of Sfax in early March. So far this year, sea departures from Tunisia to Europe have more than tripled compared to the same period in 2020.

READ  Okoduwa, others arrive Genova ahead of Int'l Migrants Day

UNHCR and IOM continue to monitor developments closely. They continue to stand ready to work with the national authorities to assist and support the survivors, and the family members of those lost.

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Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

Yemen: Stranded Ethiopian migrants prepare to board an IOM-facilitated flight from Aden, Yemen, to fly home to Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM/Majed Mohammed 2021

One hundred and sixty Ethiopian migrants have returned home safely from Yemen today with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), just one day after a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden claimed the lives of dozens of people, including at least 16 children.

More than 32,000 migrants, predominantly from Ethiopia, remain stranded across Yemen in dire, often deadly, circumstances.

“The conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen has become so tragic that many feel they have no option but to rely on smugglers to return home,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Director for Operations and Emergencies.

At least 42 people returning from Yemen are believed to have died on Monday when their vessel sank off the coast of Djibouti. Last month, at least 20 people had also drowned on the same route according to survivors. IOM believes that, since May 2020, over 11,000 migrants have returned to the Horn of Africa on dangerous boat journeys, aided by unscrupulous smugglers.

READ  Coronavirus: Nigerian doctor, wife die within 10 days in UK

“Our Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme provides a lifeline for those stranded in a country now experiencing its seventh year of conflict and crisis. We call on all governments along the route to come together and support our efforts to allow migrants safe and dignified opportunities to travel home,” added Labovitz.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on global migration. The route from the Horn of Africa to Gulf countries has been particularly affected. Tens of thousands of migrants, hoping to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), now find themselves unable to complete their journeys, stranded across Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

While the pandemic has also caused the number of migrants arriving to Yemen to decrease from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020, the risks they face continue to rise. Many of these migrants are stranded in precarious situations, sleeping rough without shelter or access to services. Many others are in detention or being held by smugglers.

READ  Bosnian police tussle with migrants protesting over camp conditions

“We cannot find jobs or food here; Yemen is a problem for us,” said Gamal, a 22-year-old migrant returning on the VHR flight. “I used to sleep in the street on cardboard. I could only eat because of the charity people would give me and sometimes we were given leftovers from restaurants. I never had much to eat.”

Since October 2020, in Aden alone, IOM has registered over 6,000 migrants who need support to safely return home. Today’s flight to Addis Ababa was the second transporting an initial group of 1,100 Ethiopians who have been approved for VHR to Ethiopia. Thousands of other undocumented migrants are waiting for their nationality to be verified and travel documents to be provided.

Prior to departure on the VHR flight, IOM carried out medical and protection screenings to ensure that returnees are fit to travel and are voluntarily consenting to return. Those with special needs are identified and receive specialized counselling and support.

In Ethiopia, IOM supports government-run COVID-19 quarantine facilities to accommodate the returnees on arrival and provides cash assistance, essential items and onward transportation to their homes. The Organization also supports family tracing for unaccompanied migrant children.

READ  UNHCR supports release of 434 asylum-seekers from immigration detention  in Mexico

Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen, IOM provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food, water and other vital assistance.

Today’s flight was funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by EU Humanitarian Aid and PRM.

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