An illegal immigrant being apprehended by a border patrol guard in Europe 

The Federal Government has warned Nigerians, especially the youths against illegal migration to Europe and other parts of the world, popularly known in local parlance as ‘Japa’ saying the consequences including bad treatment abroad were very disastrous.

While insisting that it does not encourage irregular migration, the government advised that Nigerians who desire to move should do so within the confines of the law.

The Director, Economic Trade and Investment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Akinremi Bolaji, stated these in Abuja on Monday during the launch of EuroAfrica Polish Language Center.

According to him, the attitude of many youths migrating abroad without basic skills, were responsible for the bad treatment they get.

“The government does not encourage irregular migration. But we do understand that it is part of fundamental human rights to move. That is why government places emphasis on ensuring that whoever desires to move, does that within the remit of law.

“Countries want what you have, but they just want you to come legally or documented. And that is why you need registered services like EuroAfrica, that are known with the government and regulatory organisations to assist you.

“Such organisations can organise the right pathway for you to travel. But you see when you say ‘Japa’, if you go to another man’s country without entering the place properly, you will be ill-treated and the law will find it very difficult to support you. This is why we are raising it loud and clear that nobody is trying to impede anyone’s freedom of travel but, you must have something, like a basic knowledge”.

Bolaji said that most of the reports on the ill-treatment of Nigerians were not properly documented because the victims, most times, travelled illegally

“Now, all the records of ill-treatment that we receive is because most of our people did not properly migrated. If you are documented at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, when you are traveling and you are documented by National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters and we know the employer who is the agent that is taking you away, then if your host mistreats you, we will be able to trace such host. But when you travel illegally then it becomes a challenge”, he stated.

Speaking on the importance of the EuroAfrica Polish Language Center, Bolaji stressed the need for language exchange to grow economic activities between countries.

“People to people connection is the height of connection that countries do long for and Europe today needs Africa, but language has always been a barrier.

“With this center here, I’m also believing that somewhere in Poland, they will start learning how to speak Yoruba or Hausa because we are one people and we need each other. They come to Lagos to do business. It will be easier for them if they learn how to speak Yoruba, so this is just a stepping stone.

“If you go to Poland, it is a white environment, white culture, and their language is what they speak. So once you come in without being able to say anything, they will know that you’re a stranger.

“And if your paper is not correct, then you run the risk. And so this is very good that it is trying to bring up the service.

“So rather than encouraging ‘Japa’, this initiative is going to encourage proper regular migration, labour migration and encourage record keeping and government would be able to know the number of citizens that have gone out, where they are, in which industry are they serving, and who is their employer” he stated.

The founder of the centre, Olakunle Alayande, said the purpose of the centre was to transmit the language and culture of Poland to the youth in Nigeria.

“I have been living in Poland for the past two decades, and I’ve been into education for a while. My record shows that I have taken more than 400 students to Poland as individual students and exchange students and they have all graduated.

“Having done that, I discovered that a lot of Nigerians are not integrated into the Polish system in terms of having the knowledge of language and not being able to find their pace on the territory of Poland, in terms of getting adequate job that they could get in terms of having the knowledge of Polish.

“The only opportunity they have is to just get employment through multinational companies. But by the time you start learning the language or you can speak the language, even if it’s the basic knowledge of Polish, it gives you wide opportunities to work with either the Polish company or multinational companies.

“So after myself, my wife with my team saw the advantages that it would be to the privilege of Nigerian students we decided to bring this opportunity down to Nigeria”.

The Co-founder of the Centre, Aleksandra Alayande, said the benefits of learning Polish or more than one language could make one’s résumé stand out where there are competitions.

“In addition to the position, relevant experienced companies often look for candidate who can offer more cultural diversity”, she said.

She said learning to speak Polish is absolutely necessary if one intends to run a business in Poland.

“Poland’s economy is one of the strongest in the region, so the language is in high demand”, she said.

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