UN deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed has suggested to the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum steps to stem migration flows and ensure that Nigerian youths have the right conditions to fulfil their dreams.
Ms Mohammed made the call at the New York 2023 Nigeria Economic Growth and Trade Summit with the theme ‘Stemming Migration Flows by Providing Basic Needs’ at Nigeria House in New York.
The governors’ wives forum organised the summit on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
Ms Mohammed urged the forum to use its influential roles to change the trajectory and prospects for Nigerian youths. The deputy UN chief said the governors’ wives should initiate programmes to support education.
“Women are the engine of trade and economic activity. Investing in their access to capital, property, and markets is critical. We all know of the legends of the women of Aba. How much further could they go, especially now in the dispensation of the African Continental Free Trade Area? Legal migration is an important part of every country’s development course,” Ms Mohammed explained.
The UN deputy chief added, “Take remittances. In 2022, they comprised 4.2 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). We must ensure that this critical investment source goes to more than consumption – and that the costs associated with remitting money meet the SDG target of no more than three per cent of the amount sent.”
According to her, Nigeria has one of the strongest diaspora regarding talents and skills.
“These are our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews. They will be part of the drive for a future, smart Nigeria,” Ms Mohammed stressed. “We need structured ways to incentivise them to return home – in circular flows of brain gain – and use their talents to take Nigeria to a high–speed road to attaining the SDGs.”
Ms Mohammed decried the desperate attempts of young Nigerians to flee the country.
“They pack these hopes in rack sacks and take on perilous journeys across national borders, where they often become victims of exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. They navigate harsh seas and we are all no strangers to the death that often accompanies these experiences,” said the UN deputy secretary general. “And so if we meet today – it is not by chance. It is our date with destiny – to take up action to ensure that Africa’s youths have the right conditions to self-actualize – in Nigeria and in Africa.”