Irregular migration in the ECOWAS space: towards a study of the “trends and challenges” of the phenomenon in the space

The Niamey Convention Center hosted on Wednesday 28 September 2022 the opening ceremony of a regional ministerial roundtable discussion with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the situation of migrants from ECOWAS countries who have been repatriated and are in the territory of Niger. The purpose of these meetings, whose work started on September 25 and will last until September 30, is to find a lasting solution to the phenomenon of irregular migration, which is becoming more and more alarming in the ECOWAS space, and of which Niger , due to its strategic position, has become an essential link.


The opening ceremony of this ECOWAS mission to assess the issues related to transit migration in the Republic of Niger was presided over by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Mr. Lawan Magagi, in the presence of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs. , Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, ECOWAS Resident Representative in Niger, Mr. N’dir Guillaume Gnamien, the representative of IOM, representatives of ECOWAS Member States, ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions, representatives of technical and financial partners and experts.


Examine “Trends and Challenges” related to transit migration of ECOWAS citizens

Taking the floor, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, expressed her delight at participating with her colleagues from the ECOWAS Commission in this hearing. particularly and very crucially, whose aim is to address a complex challenge facing our region, which remains a constant threat “. Irregular migration and its negative impact, she stressed, has caused deep pain and remains a difficult problem.

In view of the problem of irregular migration which spares no country in the world, we are gathered here to examine the “trends and challenges” of the transit migration of ECOWAS citizens here in the Republic of Niger. said Professor Fatou Sow.

All astute observers of irregular migration trends will agree with me that the information reaching us about the difficulties encountered by our brothers and sisters who try to leave the region for other countries, especially for Europe, is particularly disturbing . declared the commissioner, before clarifying that the section of the population most exposed to this phenomenon is young people, a situation that is all the more worrying as it is these young people who are the lifeblood of our states. This, she warned, jeopardizes their shared goals of human development and thus the economic development and integration agenda of ECOWAS.

It is encouraging to note that within its capacities and mandate, IOM has recorded many achievements in this area in the past, ensuring that many victims are rescued, repatriated and reintegrated. This is the place to express all the gratitude of ECOWAS to your organization. These are significant resources, up to 80,000 euros, which you allocate every month to initiatives aimed at facilitating the return of migrants from the sub-region. We know them, and we are also aware of the difficulties associated with maintaining such an effort. », Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs.

Niger is asking for that the host countries help the departure and transit countries

While officially launching the activities of this roundtable, the Minister of Humanitarian Response and Disaster Management, Lawan Magagi also lamented the increase in the scourge of irregular migration in the ECOWAS region and its negative impact, especially since the operational weapons happen to be the most affected.

This irregular migration unfortunately affects our ECOWAS space in a negative way because it is above all a matter of able-bodied workers who, in idleness, because they have little to do, take the risk of selling out of the desert and the sea to find yourself somewhere else, without papers he lamented.

Minister Laouan Magagi asked for support from European countries because according to him, this irregular migration, when it arrives at home, presents difficulties. Sometimes it is people who are in conflict with the law who do not respect the rules they find, in addition to the irregularity of the papers that they present themselves with in these areas. “. For the Minister, in order to slow down or even eradicate this irregular migration, strong investments are needed, and for that of major structuring projects » must come forward. In this sense, he recalled that during ” global compact on migration”, which had its forum in the USA last May, several commitments have been made to enable host countries to assist countries of departure and transit to limit this situation as much as possible “.

the minister also reminded of that the government of the Republic of Niger has taken some measures. It’s about, in particular, Act No. 2015-36 to punish people who use their vehicles to illegally transport these migrants “, he explained.

Laouan Magagi Humanitarian Action

These young people, when the law came out, some were imprisoned and those who gave up the activity, many remained idle, suddenly, the risk of them taking up arms, the risk of them becoming terrorists, the risk of them robbing people on the roads is large. Why ? For that we received no compensation. It is the substitution that must be made. If we prevent them from doing that, we have to find a way to keep them busy so they can produce. All of Africa must know this because because we are on the border of the Maghreb, we are the gateway and can only ask you all to see to what extent we can deal with this situation, especially since the ECOWAS pact on the movement of people and goods is there, and Niger is at the center of it. In the debates that we have to hold, we must find the means to be able to create the conditions to accommodate the young people by finding them what to do, by finding them work, by creating programs, South-South projects and north-south. Cooperation. », Lawan Magagi, Minister for Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management.

Concluding his speech, Minister Lawan Magagi thanked all the technical and financial partners who support the ECOWAS countries in general and Niger in particular. Especially, he said, IOM which has helped Niger a lot and even the other ECOWAS countries through Niger.

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