Improving access to easy and ready to use information for migrants and migrant workers returning to Nigeria

Workers organizations in Nigeria develop an Information Guide to complement the national Standard Operating Procedures and practices around sustainable return and reintegration of migrant workers

News | 28 March 2022
In a bid towards ensuring migrant workers who are returning to Nigeria have access to verifiable and easy to use information, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has developed and validated an Information Guide aimed at contributing to closing information gaps during return, readmission, and reintegration processes.  

The Information Guide was developed as part of an ongoing Implementation Agreement between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Nigeria Labour Congress, in which the NLC desirous to complement established Standard Operating Procedures of the Government, initiated the development of a user-friendly resource, to address challenges associated with access to information for migrants returning to Nigeria.
While welcoming participants to the two – day review/validation workshop, Mr. Emmanuel Ugboaja, General Secretary of NLC informed the gathering that developing an Information Guide is in line with aspirations of the Congress to facilitate multi-sectoral engagement of actors who have varying mandates related to return and reintegration processes. He noted that affiliates and stakeholders alike have a role to play in supporting sustainable reintegration of returning migrant workers, as well as the overall migration governance processes.

Adding that the Guide will further serve as an advocacy tool for workers organizations around labour migration governance, especially as it relates to mechanisms targeted at protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers, he appreciated the ILO for the institutional support provided which has been made possible within the framework of the FAIRWAY programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Ms. Vanessa Phala, Director of the ILO Abuja Country Office who was represented at the event by Austin Erameh, National Project Coordinator of the FAIRWAY programme in Nigeria, commended the NLC for the initiative, noting that the Guide is aligned to the outcome of the project that seeks to contribute to workers organizations being effectively engaged for promoting decent work for migrant workers.

She acknowledged the important role workers’ organizations play in the recovery era arising from the global pandemic occasioned by COVID-19, especially as migrant workers have been identified among the most vulnerable groups impacted by the pandemic.

Commending the NLC for seeing the process through, she encouraged the Congress and its affiliates to ensure ownership of the resource, as the Guide also signals a wake-up call to increased involvement of workers organizations in labour migration processes at the national level.

Major highlights during the workshop included a section-by-section review and consideration of contents in the Information Guide by stakeholders, upon which a motion for validation was moved by Comrade Bola Ajayi, Secretary of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and other Associated Institutions (NASU) of the Federal Capital Territory. The motion was seconded by Comrade Abubakar Yakubu, Chairperson, FCT Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE)

Most recent data referenced in the ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers reveal that the number of people migrating for work internationally increased from 164 million in 2017 to 169 million in 2019. This is indicative of a rise of five million migrant workers at the onset of the global pandemic, informing a need for countries of origin to put in place improved frameworks, mechanisms and practices that ensure adequate protection and promotion of rights of all workers, including migrant workers.

It is within this context and through the framework of the FAIRWAY programme currently being implemented by ILO that the collaboration with NLC is being facilitated with a view to support workers activities around labour migration and further strengthen coordination between workers organizations.

The Information Guide is contextualized for migrants, including migrant workers returning to Nigeria. It contains basic facts on return and reintegration processes, as well as information on how returning migrant workers can be supported to undertake dignified return and reintegration. Also included in the Guide are tips and links to government support services, including the role trade unions play in return, readmission, and reintegration processes in Nigeria.

The workshop was convened from 17 – 18 March and had in attendance representatives from the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), as well as relevant government agencies, including the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, National Commission for Refugees Migrants and IDPs, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.