200,000 youths to benefit from FG’s vocational training programmes —NDE

The National Directorate of Employment on Thursday (15 November) said that over 200,000 unemployed youths would benefit from its various training and empowerment programmes across the country.

The NDE Director-General, Dr. Nasiru Argungu, disclosed this in Gusau at the opening ceremony of the orientation programme for new intakes to NDE programmes.

Argungu, represented by the State Coordinator of the Directorate, Mr Muhammad Alhassan, said the youths would be trained and empowered through various programmes initiated by the directorate.

He said the Federal Government is highly committed to reducing unemployment rate among youths in the country.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated clear determination to empower youths through articulated programmes and sustained support to the relevant agencies.

Argungu said the effort was in line with the constitutional mandate of the present administration to create job opportunities to Nigerian youth, as demonstrated in the N-power scheme.

“We are gathered today to launch the orientation course for youths and women to be trained under our Vocational Skills Development (VSD) in Zamfara State.

“Over 200,000 unemployed youths and women would benefit from the programmes nation-wide.

“Eleven Thousand one hundred unemployed youths will be trained in quick-win demand driven skin sets nationwide, 25,900 in cosmetology, while 8,450 from 13 states of the country, 650 each will be trained on school-on-wheel.

“Thirty thousand unemployed youths will be trained on Advanced National Open Apprenticeship Scheme across the 24 states of the country, 1, 200 per state,” he said.

The DG said the directorate had also concluded plans to undertake the Basic Business Refresher Course for 185,000 unemployed persons wishing to access the Central Bank of Nigeria Agri-business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme loan nation-wide.

“We are going to engage 50 persons from each of the 36 states of the country including Abuja, state under our Environmental Beautification Scheme and 50 persons per state under the Sustainable Agricultural Development Training Scheme,” he added.

Argungu said further that the directorate had recently empowered over 20,000 women across the Six-Geopolitical Zones of the country, who were trained in cosmetology.

“There are also plans to empower over 11, 000 micro businesses with N10,000 each under the Micro Enterprises Enhancement Scheme.

The NDE boss explained that out of the 75,450 unemployed youths to be trained under its various programmes, Zamfara State will have 6,250 beneficiaries.

He commended the Buhari-led administration for its concern and commitment in initiating various employment generating programmes.

He urged the trainees to be serious and ensure dedication and determination during the training programmes.

© NAN

10,000 Nigerians repatriated from Libya – NEMA

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has announced that no fewer than 10,000 Nigerians, have voluntarily returned from Libya between April 2017 and October 2018.

The South West Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Yakubu Suleiman, made this disclosure while receiving a new batch of 161 returnees, who arrived Lagos on Friday (12 October).

Suleiman said the Nigerians were assisted back in 50 flights facilitated by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

According to him, the returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 3.10 am and were received by officials of NEMA and other agencies at the airport.

He said among the 161 returnees were 147 adults, four children and 10 infants, adding that 12 of the women were pregnant while nine had varying medical cases.

Suleiman noted that on 9 October NEMA had received another batch of 149 returnees, bringing the total number of returnees received during the week to 310.

“On Tuesday, a pregnant woman went into labour on arrival at the MMIA cargo wing and she was delivered of a baby boy by the combined team of medical personnel,” he said.

The NEMA coordinator on behalf of the Federal Government, thanked the IOM and other development partners on their humanitarian efforts in the Special Assisted Voluntary Repatriation Programme.

He called on the returnees not to be ashamed to disclose their health status on arrival in Nigeria, as it would enable the government to adequately take care of them.

© NAN

1,741 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean so far in 2018, says UN agency

The Organization for Migration (IOM) has released new statistics on migrant crossings to Europe via the Atlantic Ocean. So far, 1,741 people have died trying to make it to Europe through the Mediterranean.

The UN agency said that a total of 82,100 migrants and refugees have reached Europe by sea in 2018 as of September 30. Spain saw the largest number of arrivals – 36,654 people landed there.

The total number of arrivals by sea decreased. In the same period last year, 136,313 arrivals were registered, and there were 304,933 arrivals over the same period in 2016.

IOM said that the number of people reported dead after they tried to cross the Mediterranean remains high with 1,741 victims so far this year. However, the death toll is lower than at this point last year (2,676) and 2016 (3,602).

Data from Spain, Italy, Greece

Spain, with nearly 45% of all registered arrivals this year, has receiving twice as many migrants by sea in September compared to Greece and seven times more than Italy.

IOM reported that data provided by the Spanish interior ministry indicated that a total of 41,474 migrants reached Spain, including 36,654 who were registered as arrivals by sea and at least 4,820 who crossed into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are located on north-eastern coast of Morocco. Compared to the same period last year, arrivals by sea went up 196 percent in Spain.

Italy meanwhile recorded the lowest number of arrivals in almost five years – with 21,041 people who reached the country by sea so far. A reported 964 migrants reached the country by sea in September. It was the first time in over four years during which less than 1,000 migrants or refugees landed in Italy in a month, according to the report.

The UN agency also said Greece recorded 23,240 arrivals by sea in 2018 as of September 30.

Over 12,000 voluntary repatriations from Libya in 2018

The IOM office in Libya reported that a total of 12,544 migrants were repatriated this year as part of the program of voluntary humanitarian returns, including 172 who left Libya last week. Since January 1, 2017, IOM has repatriated 31,915 people thanks to the program, using regular flights or charter planes. The four top countries of return are Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Guinea.

© ANSA

Nigerian migrants rescued from Libyan prison after cell video goes viral

A group of Nigerian migrants held captive inside a detention centre in Libya have been rescued after releasing a video taken on their phones. The footage went viral on social media and caught the attention of the authorities. Sertan Sanderson of InfoMigrants reports.

The migrants held in Zawiya in Libya reportedly risked their lives to shoot the video, which shows poor living conditions and people pleading for help. One of the Nigerian men who helped with the video was almost beaten to death by guards according to reports.

The video footage – dated July 7, 2018 – was then sent to France 24 Observers, a citizen journalism initiative run by France Medias Monde, in July. A man seen in the video says that the authorities in Libya were refusing to deport them.

“They don’t want us to go to Europe and also, they don’t want us to go back to our country,” a voice off camera says in the video, which shows the squalid and crammed living conditions in the cells.

Journalists from France 24 Observers alerted the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which organizes voluntary returns from Libyan detention camps. The migrants were eventually returned to Nigeria on August 30.

“If it wasn’t for that video we wouldn’t have been able to come back to Nigeria, I believe that,” Efe Onyeka, the 25-year-old Nigerian who shot the video, told the news agency AFP.

Business with the al-Nasr Brigade

Onyeka, the narrator of the video, said that two detained people had died on the day the footage was taken: “We are suffering here, we are dying here. They are keeping us here for business. Please, we want to go back home. We want to go back to Nigeria.”

The detention facility where Onyeka filmed the appeal for help is a centre that is officially run by the Libyan Government of National Accord but that is reportedly under the control of one of Libya’s most influential military brigades, which is known for their human trafficking practices: the al-Nasr Brigade.

Observers journalist Liselotte Mas said that the local Zawiya Coast Guard has an affiliation with the al-Nasr Brigade, according to reports from several NGOs. However, they are also among the European Union’s partners in the fight against illegal immigration. According to reports from the Washington Post, the Zawiya Coast Guard has received grants from the EU to keep as many potential immigrants as possible from entering Europe.

Reports of systematic torture

Onyeka said that everyone in his group had been beaten and tortured during their captivity:

“They used pipes and sticks. They would not give us food. We were malnourished. The water [they gave us] was from the latrine,” Onyeka said. “I’m traumatized. I have nightmares about Libya, about the prison […] The journey is not worth it.”

Frank Isaiah, another inmate, reported that the guards put metal chains “around my neck and beat me for six hours outside the prison. I went into a coma and they thought I was dead.”

Despite being tortured almost to death, Isaiah says that he might consider migration one more time: “IOM promised to help me get work here, but I’m still waiting for that. […] If I don’t make it here, if things remain like this without anything to do and no work, I will try my luck again with Europe, if the opportunity presents itself.”

Voluntary return to Nigeria

Onyeka is one of about 2,700 migrants who have made it back to Nigeria through IOM’s voluntary return program this year, said IOM Nigeria spokesman Jorge Galindo.

“It wasn’t an exceptional case [because the] conditions are [generally] bad,” Galindo explained.

Since the voluntary return program began in 2017, almost 10,000 Nigerians returned to their home country.

© InfoMigrants