Illegal migration has been identified as a huge problem in Africa, and as such, a major cause of brain drain.
Undoubtedly, it has robbed Africa of talents, hence promoting the shortage of manpower in different fields.
Besides, youths, who make up the larger percentage of the migrants, leave the continent in order to explore and showcase their skills for ‘befitting’ reward. But when these talents leave, things become more difficult in the sectors that needed them, thus, crippling the economy.
Indeed, reports by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) showed that Africa is one of the continents with the highest number of migrants, legal and illegal.
This, according to the study was a result of the level of poverty, ethnic conflicts, political issues, and terrorism.
It explained that young Nigerians made up the largest population of the growing flow of migrants from Africa to developed countries. In 2016, over 20,000 involved in the Mediterranean Sea crossing were reported to be from Nigeria.
For instance, an IOM study conducted in September 2019 in Oredo and Ikpoba Okha, Edo Nigeria revealed that 58 percent (out of 419 respondents) aged between 13 and 40 have not heard or seen information on the dangers of irregular migration in the last year.
Additionally, 58 percent indicated that friends were their primary source for information about migration and 66 percent said they generally got information about job opportunities through word-of-mouth.
A lack of access to accurate and trustworthy information, both online and in-person, on regular migration options and the available opportunities in Nigeria were identified as key knowledge gaps.
Despite the rising trend in illegal migration worldwide, especially from poorer to richer countries, WAKA Well by IOM X, an IOM working in Nigeria has continued to show innovative campaigns in West Africa that seeks to prevent exploitation by empowering young people to make informed decisions about their future, both at home and abroad.
On what the agency is doing to prevent people from becoming illegal immigrants, WAKA Well said it has continued to ensure a total fight against the monster from moves beyond raising awareness to affecting behaviour change, by applying a Communication for Development (C4D), an evidence-based and participatory framework to design its activities.
It is also working closely with youth and their communities to produce media content for television, radio, online platforms, and community screenings. This community-led content seeks to raise awareness about local opportunities and risks associated with irregular migration.
With a focus on Guinea and Nigeria, the initiative is funded by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and works closely with communities, civil society organisations, government agencies, returned migrants and youth groups across West Africa.