By Aaron Ossai
The President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Hon. Laura Boldrini has said that no fewer than 37,000 Nigerians migrated to Italy in 2016 alone.
She disclosed this when he visited the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara at the National Assembly.
Earlier, Dogara has said that for efforts aimed at checking terrorism and illegal migration in Nigeria, and the world at large, to yield desired results, there must be education and economic empowerment of citizens.
Calling for partnership between the two countries to stop the tide of illegal immigration and terrorism in Nigeria, he said one of the ways the feat can be achieved is through economic development, which is a sure way to empower people to get out of poverty and resist the lure to engage in crime or risk travelling to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.
He further added that it is the quest for a better life that motivates Nigerians and other nationalities to embark on risky journeys across the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of getting a better life in Europe.
“One of the problems giving rise to all these challenges is lack of economic opportunities.
The problem is that someone will really have to run out of hope for him to undertake this type of tortuous journeys that transverses the Sahara Desert and even cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe. It means that there is generally loss of hope,” he said.
To check the menace, Dogara, urged Italy to invest in the economy of Nigeria, stating, “the truth is that for us to deal with terrorism, Illegal migration, trafficking and cross border crimes, we have to address the issue of bringing prosperity to sister countries so that citizens are catered for and jobs are provided.”
“It is by investing in this country that we can provide the opportunity that can provide employment for the people who always want to risk all the dangers associated with migration. There will no motivation to engage in crime.”
He called for more world partnership in the fight against terrorism, as well as the donation of aid for resettlement of displaced persons and victims of terrorism, saying democracy is a way of governance that caters for all.
“Democracy itself is about us, the people. As we talk about my right, your right must include their right. That’s the only way we can sustain democracy as the best way of government ever known to man”, he said.
Earlier, President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Hon Laura Boldrini, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the rescue of 82 girls who were kidnapped from girl’s secondary school in Chibok Borno State three years ago.
She also expressed willingness of Italy’s parliament to collaborate with its Nigerian counterpart to address the challenges faced by victims displaced by Boko Haram attacks, as well as the trafficking of people, especially young girls and women, to Italy.
“A unified effort for both countries to check terrorism is necessary. Italy stands by Nigeria’s side to combat terrorism. We do appreciate your effort and believe that since terrorism is a threat to the entire world, we need to join forces in this regard”, she said.
Hon Boldrini also said that she was “concerned” that “UN agencies (working to provide aid for IDPs) are suffering because of lack of aid. It is important that the international community continues to fund, to get resources for those in need so that they don’t cut aid for victims of terrorism in this country,” she said.
The two heads of parliament visited an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Kuchigoro, Abuja, where they had a firsthand view of their living conditions, after which the Italian parliament president promised to offer assistance to the IDPs.