Buhari We must confront internal migration frictions – President says

Buhari also observed that the country was still grappling with national identity issues which engender discrimination.

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President Muhammadu Buhari play

President Muhammadu Buhari

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President Muhamadu Buhari said on Tuesday that there was need to confront the internal migration frictions being experienced in different parts of the federation.

He spoke at the Second Annual National Migration Dialogue in Abuja with the theme, “Policy Coherence in Migration Governance: Managing Migration and Displacement, the way forward.’’

Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the President noted that the Nigerian constitution guaranteed all citizens the  right to reside anywhere in the country without discrimination.

He, however, observed that the country was still grappling with national identity issues which engender discrimination.

He said such discriminations were rife and that the people must resist the attempt of those who wanted to play the ethnic or religious card, usually to further their own selfish and personal courses.

The President noted that while migration was a natural phenomenon, which had attracted much global attention, a considerable amount of migration was forced.

“Men, women and children are forced by civil conflicts, prosecutions, wars, natural disasters and even climate change to move from their homes to places of refuge, safety and succour.

“Forced migration is usually what heats up the debate on migration policy,’’ he said.

Buhari  said it was difficult to grapple with forced migration because most of them in recent years were of people coming from developing countries in a flight to safety to more stable countries.

The President observed that the dramatic appearance of more than one million Syrian refugees to Europe had exerted so much pressure on the continent.

He also said that as politicians ran out of options to explain the decline in economic opportunities, they always conclude that the problems were caused by immigrants who had come to take over local jobs.

“Today, that rhetoric is assuming the position of truth and it is even more convenient to argue that migrants may even be terrorists.

“So the state of fear and hate is probably the worst plague that the whole of migration policy and thinking has experienced for a very long time.

“But to be fair, the influx of many displaced persons to any society is bound to create some social and economic concerns,’’ he said.

The President observed that organised societies had laws, plans and policies to contend with migration issues.

He noted that the phenomenon of internally displaced persons had created peculiar problems; adding that such was the case in Nigeria, where more than two million IDPs were forced to migrate from their homes.

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The President said that besides the menace of Boko Haram, the concept of host and settler communities had compounded the migration problem in the country, leading to clashes.

Buhari said it was obvious that existing global migration policies and laws must be examined to determine their adequacy and usefulness.

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