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NLC unveils Trade Unions Guide to bridge information gap for returning migrant workers

By Michael Oche

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has unveiled the Trade Unions Information Guide to assist returning migrant workers get verified and easy-to-use information which will ensure reintegrate easily.

The Guide, developed with assistance from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as part of an ongoing Implementation Agreement with the NLC, was unveiled in Abuja and will address gaps in information available to returning migrant workers.

NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba who spoke during the unveiling of the Guide said it has been observed over time that several potential returnees find it difficult, frustrating and traumatic to both successfully return and get reintegrated back home.

Wabba noted that one of the challenges encumbering this process has been identified as the dearth of handy and easy-to-understand-and-utilise pieces of Information, saying that this has made returning migrants susceptible to exploitation, vulnerability and, consequently, the unwillingness to return.

He said the need for such information Guide has become even more important as several migrants and migrant workers are committing to returning, with some voluntarily ready to do so.

He described the Guide as a workers-friendly Guide that places migrant workers at the core and provides necessary links to facilitate an easy Return and Reintegration.

According to him, the Trade Union Information Guide has been formulated to contribute to and complement the Standard Operating Procedures on Return and Reintegration already developed by the Federal Government.

He expressed confidence that the information guide will serve as a qualitative contribution to ensuring a comfortable and dignified return and a successful readmission and reintegration of returning migrants and migrant workers.

He further said, “We are also witnessing a situation where the forceful removal and deportation of migrants (noticeably in Europe and North America) and migrant workers (especially in the Middle East) are increasing.”

Wabba said the desire to migrate continues to increase globally, explaining that this is largely due to the fact that the world is witnessing a disproportional disaggregation of the benefits of globalization, democracy and economic growth.

He said, “For Africa and Nigeria, particularly, other structural challenges exacerbating this dilemma include, but are not limited to, mono-economic production, infant and stagnant manufacturing strength, low technological advancement and utilization, and weak social protection provisions etc.

“In essence, there are growing factors causing people, especially young people, to contemplate and undertake desperate and dangerous migration journeys.”

Following the launch, Wabba urged affiliates of the NLC to deploy the Information Guide to the public for use.

Also speaking during the event, Ms. Vanessa Phala, Director of the ILO Abuja Country Office, commended the NLC for the initiative and expressed confidence that the Guide will go a long way in addressing gaps in information available to returning migrants.

The Director who was represented by Austin Erameh, National Project Coordinator of the FAIRWAY programme in Nigeria, noted that the ILO is particularly happy to be part of this process as available information to returning migrants remain one of the identified gaps that have been identified previously.

She said, “The NLC in collaboration with the ILO within the framework of the FairWay programme had identified this gap and collaboratively worked in developing the information guide through the implementation agreement which commenced in August 2021. Within this process, both institutions have been able to work jointly through consultation, capacity building as well as information and sensitisation to come up with this information guide which, we believe, will go a long way in addressing gaps in information available to returning migrants.”

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