-By Harris Emanuel
Uyo—Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nigeria have been honoured with the African Migration awards for contributing to the advancement of safe and regular migration in Africa.
The presentations were made in Abuja by a delegation of JIFORM led by its President, Ajibola Abayomi that comprised Togo based JIFORM Francophone Coordinator, Dr Williams Ijoma Azuma; Vincent Adekoye, the Press Officer of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) and Dr. Naomi Ettima Ajaere, both members of JIFORM.
In a statement, the president said the IOM emerged the winner of the African Media Merit Award at the African Migration Summit held in February 25-26 in Ghana during which the UN agency sponsored six journalists and other officials to the event while Keyamo won the African Migration Crusader Award for Decent Work in Sierra Leone on June 8 as a result of his consistent support for decent work agitation for the migrants.
According to the statement, the African summit chaired by the Sierra Leone’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Alpha Timbo, was organized by the JIFORM in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana.
“The event attracted the attention of the office of the Ghana President, Nana Akufo -Addo, ambassadors, ministers, African Union Committee members, international organizations and audience.”
The President of JIFORM noted that IOM deserved the honour following its huge contributions to the enhancement of journalists’ capacity in Nigeria, promotion of regular migration and support for thousands of Nigerian-returnee migrants over the years.
In his response, the IOM, Nigeria Chief of Mission, Franz Celestin, urged JIFORM to continue to spotlight migration matters to further enlightened the public about regular migration. He pledged IOM’s support for the JIFORM proposed 3rd Global Migration Summit slated for Niagara Falls, Canada.
For his part, Keyamo thanked JIFORM and the Nekotech Center of Excellence for the award, “My office is ready to work with state governments to properly organized labour migration process to ensure proper documentation and decent work for Nigerians abroad.” He said.
“With what I saw in Sierra Leone, we are further inspired to ensure proper interventions on labour migration to ensure that the process is fine tuned in accordance with our laws for the benefits of Nigerians for states willing to do that.” Keyamo added.
Since its inception in 2018, the JIFORM with over 300 journalists covering migration matters across the continents has been leading advocacy against irregular migration, human trafficking, slavery, prostitution, child and women labour and other crimes associated with migration both in Nigeria and in several countries.
The media body has been involved in capacity development for the media and various stakeholders through several initiatives that include annual international migration summits, training programmes and workshops.