A substantial number of Imo State male indigenes – 67% planned to migrate to Europe from their state, the latest data on illegal emigrant from the National Bureau of Statistics has shown. Next to Imo is Lagos State with 50 per cent of its indigenes intending to migrate to European nations in search of greener pastures. In terms of gender, the proportion is lower for females (between 32.7 per cent in Imo and 50.3 per cent in Lagos). Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale unveiled emigrant figures in Lagos at the presentation of the 2020 awareness and perceptions report on migrants vis-a-vis the dangers of irregular migration in Nigeria. The commonest routes preferred by emigrants involve a passage through the desert and by sea.
“Nearly all male respondents in Lagos (91.7 per cent) indicated intention to travel through the desert compared to 57.4 per cent in Edo, whereas the results are reversed for females: 42.6 per cent of intending female migrants in Edo planned to travel through the desert compared to 8.3 per cent in Lagos. Further, between half and two-thirds of male respondents intended to travel by sea, mostly in Lagos and Edo.” He said intending illegal migrants face daunting risks.
“Illegal migrants face considerable travel risks and dehumanising conditions. Across states and irrespective of gender, returned migrants reported facing dehumanising conditions of detention, sexual abuse, hunger, slavery, forced labour in significant numbers. “Across all four states, more than 70 per cent of returned migrants indicated having no passports or visas,” he said.
With regards to stations of preference, Kale listed North America, South America and Australia/ Oceania as countries preferred by illegal migrants. However, he added that respondents from Edo and Lagos indicated a preference for Europe.