By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: With over 80 percent of migrants on the move to earn a living and improve their economic and social conditions, stakeholders have called for strengthened Labour Migration Governance in Nigeria.
This call was made in a workshop for Trade Union Organization on Labour Migration Governance in Nigeria, which is within the framework of the project “Initiative for Labour Migration, Employment and Reintegration in Nigeria and Ghana”.
The Workshop organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with its partner GIZ, brought together Trade Unions of Nigeria, with the aim of helping them fashion out strategies to influence government policies at the national, ECOWAS and Continental levels.
In his opening remarks, the Director of the International Labour Organization, ILO Abuja Office, Dennis Zulu, said that Nigeria is a very important country when it comes to the issues of Labour Migration, due to the size and nature of the country, and its capacity to influence policies both at the sub-regional, regional and global levels
Zulu, who was represented by David Dorkenoo, noted that the works the Trade Unions of Nigeria are doing is very important, and as such, they have an onerous responsibility to strategize in influencing government policies.
According to him, “Nigeria is a very crucial country. We believe that if Nigeria gets it right, ECOWAS will get it right and if ECOWAS gets it right, Africa will surely get it right.
“There are relevant conventions that the government of Nigeria have ratified but to what extent is the government implementing these conventions? It is important we look at that dimensions so as to hold the government accountable,” he said.
He also noted that the ILO in collaboration with the GIZ is very much interested in the migration issue, as it is an area to make serious impact.
Furthermore, he stressed that within the framework of Migration, issues of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) must be addressed within the confines of general migration, adding that policies should focus on how immigrants can be integrated properly within the framework of Nigeria, so they could contribute to the socio economic development of the country.
In a goodwill message, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) representative, Comrade James Eustace, while commending the initiative to support the Trade Unions as critical actors in the workplace, said that the NLC shares the vision of the ILO and its partners to bring social partners together to deliberate on the issue of Migration governance and how to better manage Migration for development.
“We share in the view to see that the capacity of the Trade Unions is enhanced, and we are better positioned to play an active role in the governance of Migration in Nigeria”, he stated. “We believe this workshop will contribute to enhancing the capacity and making trade unions more relevant and vibrant for their voices to be heard in the migration space”.
While expressing NLC’s resolve and commitment to the course, he called on the ILO and its partners to get the Trade Unions more involved in the issues of Migration, to chart a course for the betterment of the nation and her people.
Also, the Trade Union Congress Representative, Comrade Nuhu Toro in a goodwill message, said that orderly and safe process of Labour Migration can guide labor workers, adding that over 200 million people are working outside their place of birth and citizenship and as such, migration issue is a labour issue.
He also stressed that lack of bargaining power by workers becomes a labour issue, stating that the workshop should engage on how to protect migrant workers.
In a technical session on “Labour Migration Governance in Nigeria: Perspectives and Issues for the Union and Employers” by Joel Akhator, it was gathered that Nigeria is faced more with crisis of Governance rather than migration, and factors responsible for the upsurge in migration include; insecurities, economic hardship, political persecution, global warming and climate change effects, corruption, family pressure.
Akhator also noted that the Nigerian Labour Migration issues includes; Growing young population and unemployment, slow and stagnant wages, skills shortage, low social protection access and coverage, labour Migration recruitment regulation deficits, as well as weak and low returnee management program.
On the low returnee management program, he called on state actors to be active in policy dialogue processes, as Nigeria’s Labour Migration process is still not strong on returnees, adding that Nigeria should work to ratify international treaties on migration.
The ILO project “Initiative for Labour Migration, Employment and Reintegration in Nigeria and Ghana (LMER)” builds on existing efforts to strengthen labour migration governance, enhance employment prospects of potential or return migrants and support the reintegration of returnees.