***warns against illegal immigration

The federal government has warned the country’s youth against illegal migration to Europe, saying the attendant consequence was the poor treatment Nigerians received abroad.

The government also blamed the mistreatment of Nigerians in foreign countries on the attitude of many young people who migrate abroad without basic skills.

The director of economic trade and investment at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Akinremi Bolaji, stated this on Monday at the launch of the EuroAfrica Polish Language Center in Abuja.

Noting that the government does not encourage irregular migration, Bolaji warned that Nigerians who wish to move should do so within the limits of the law.

He said: “The government does not encourage irregular migration. But we understand that it is part of the fundamental human right to move. That is why the government places an emphasis on ensuring that anyone who wants to move does so within the limits of the law.

“Countries want what you have, but they only want you to come legally or documented. And that’s why you need registered services like EuroAfrica, which are known by government and regulatory organizations to help you.

“Tal can arrange the correct path for you to travel. But you see when you say Japa (escape) if you go to another man’s country without properly entering the place, you will be mistreated and the law will have a hard time supporting you. That’s why we’re making it loud and clear that no one is trying to impugn anyone’s freedom to travel, but you must have something, like basic knowledge.

It revealed that most of the reports on the mistreatment of Nigerians are not properly documented because the victims were most often traveling illegally.

“Now, all the records of mistreatment we receive is because most of our people did not emigrate properly. If you are documented at the Ministry of Labor and Employment when you travel and are documented by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) and we know the employer who is the agent taking you away, then if his host mistreats him, we will be able to track said host, but when he travels illegally, it becomes a challenge,” Bolaji said.

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

According to him, “the connection from people to people is the height of the connection that countries yearn for and Europe today needs from Africa, but language has always been a barrier.

“With this Center here, I also believe that somewhere in Poland they will start to learn 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 to speak Yoruba, so this is just a springboard.

“If you go to Poland, it’s a white environment, a white culture, and their language is what they speak. So once you walk in without being able to say anything, they’ll know you’re a stranger. And if your role is not correct, then you are at risk. So it’s very good that you’re trying to bring the service.

“So instead of encouraging Japa, this initiative will encourage proper regular migration, labor migration and encourage record keeping and the government would be able to know the number of citizens that have left, where they are, what industry they are serving in, and who is your employer.

The founder of the Center, Olakunle Alayande, said that the aim of the center was to transmit the language and culture of Poland to the youth of Nigeria.

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

“I haven’t done that, I found that many Nigerians are not integrated into the Polish system in terms of having the knowledge of the language and not being able to find their rhythm in the territory of Poland, in terms of getting a proper job that they could get in terms of have knowledge of Polish.

“The only chance they have is simply to get a job through multinational companies. But the moment you start to learn the language or can speak it, even if it is the basic knowledge of Polish, it gives you ample opportunities to work with the Polish company or with multinational companies.

“So after me, my wife and my team saw what advantages it would be to the privilege of Nigerian students, we decided to bring this opportunity to Nigeria.

The Center’s co-founder, Aleksandra Alaynade, said the benefits of learning Polish or more than one language could make one’s resume stand out where there are competitions.

“In addition to the role, companies with relevant experience are often looking for candidates who can offer greater cultural diversity,” he said.

She said that 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,” he said.