Tinubu said that exploring the nexus between migration, youth, and national development within the Nigerian context was crucial.
The Federal Government has expressed concern over the increasing emigration of Nigerian skilled professionals and university graduates seeking enhanced education, employment, and prospects globally.
President Bola Tinubu expressed his concern at the 2023 National Migration Dialogue organised by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) on Thursday in Abuja.
The 2023 National Migration Dialogue has as its theme “Leveraging Youth Migration for National Development’’.
Represented by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, Tinubu said that exploring the nexus between migration, youth, and national development within the Nigerian context was crucial.
He said this was because youth make up 16 percent of the world’s population and are a growing mobile demographic that could play a significant role in fostering positive development if properly harnessed.
“Nigeria boasts one of the highest global population growth rates, with the World Bank anticipating a potential doubling of Nigeria’s population within the next 25 to 30 years.
“As you may be aware, Nigeria serves as a pivotal hub for young migrants as a source, transit, and destination country.
“The prevalent use of irregular migration routes compounds vulnerabilities; thus, addressing this challenge necessitates the exploration of alternative strategies to diminish such vulnerabilities,” Tinubu said.
According to him, Nigeria will not only diversify its economy but also contribute to a more balanced and resilient trajectory of growth.
On his part, the Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Alhaji Tijani Ahmed, said the dialogue aimed to address the challenges of migration, particularly as they intersect with the aspirations and potential of the youth.
Ahmed said that the commission had successfully assisted in the reception of no fewer than 4,500 voluntary and forced-returned migrants from various countries.
He said that assistance was in collaboration with the support of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other national and sub-national migration stakeholders.
“These migrants are currently being integrated into various reintegration programmes of the government, civil society organisations, and our international partners.
“As we delve into the National Migration Dialogue, we will explore the dynamics of internal migration and mobility.
“In 2022, Nigeria experienced one of its worst flood events in over a decade, which displaced about 1.4 million people, affecting 33 out of the 36 states of the federation,” Ahmed said.
He said this underscores the significance of climate events for human mobility.
Also speaking, the Chief of Mission, IOM, Laurent De Boeck, said to harness the potential of youth migration, governments policies must be seen as caring for the diaspora and not being extractive.
“IOM remains committed to working with the national government and all relevant stakeholders in ensuring that we change the narrative on migration to enhance regular pathways for migrants,’’ De Boeck added.