IOM Report: 1,200 Nigerians Lost Lives in Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea in 2023

Jesse Voyamba

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) made a solemn revelation, stating that a staggering 1,200 Nigerian nationals have tragically lost their lives while embarking on perilous journeys through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea in pursuit of a better future abroad.

This disclosure was made by the acting Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Kemi Nandap, during the 2023 Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Nationwide Sensitization and Enlightenment Campaign, held at the NIS headquarters in Abuja.

The event was organized to mark the NIS’s 60th anniversary.

Nandap, responsible for overseeing the Directorate of Migration, expressed deep lamentation at the loss of these young lives during her address.

“We have a big problem in this country and that is the issue of ‘Japa syndrome’. We have so many of our youths who are dying in the Sahara, dying in the Mediterranean Sea. They are dying for no cause,” she said.

Nandap urged Nigerians wishing to ‘Japa’ to reach out to the migration desk in all the NIS state commands for necessary information.

Acting Comptroller of the NIS, Wuraola Adepoju while declaring the open the 2023 Anti-smuggling of Migrants Nationwide Sensitization and Enlightenment Campaign, urged Nigerians wishing to relocate abroad to take the regular route.

Adepoju said it was pertinent to educate Nigerians about the ills of irregular migration, adding that Nigeria was losing too many youths on the illegal routes.

“The government of Nigeria is against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons and we know that education and sensitisation is an effective way of prevention.

“We do not want to continue to lose youths to the dangerous trans-Sahara route and the treacherous Mediterranean Sea in their attempt to seek greener pastures.

“We know that many people want to go abroad seeking greener pastures. It is not bad but these journeys must be safe, must be orderly, and must be regular,” she said.

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