Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday counselled illegal migrants from Nigeria to remain in the country and strive to improve their economic scales instead of daring the deadly Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea which have both claimed several lives.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president gave the advice while receiving Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Louise Mushikiwabo, who visited the State House as Special Envoy of President Paul Kagame who will assume office this month as the new Chairman of African Union (AU
He said Buhari told the envoy that Nigeria had taken it upon itself to bring back thousands of its citizens who are currently stranded in Libya.
"Illegal migration is now a major issue in Africa. Many dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea to get into Europe, and many die in the process. Or they get into trouble, as we now see in Libya. I don't envy our position, as many Blacks claim to be Nigerians, even when they are not.
"Our Embassies in North Africa are now overworked, trying to identify the true Nigerians. Most of the reasons they mention for migrating illegally are untenable. They should stay here, and see how they can improve their own economies, instead of risking their lives," he was quoted as saying.
Buhari, according to the statement, listed issues that Kagame, as the incoming Chairman of AU, would have to contend with. Such issues include: South Sudan, separatist agitation in Southern Cameroon, unrest in Togo, among several others in the continent.
"Gaddafi's long rule produced many people, whose only skill is how to shoot guns. Now, they are scattered around the continent, still with their weapons, and fomenting trouble," Buhari was further quoted, adding that Nigeria was taking steps to curtail the development.
In his submission, Mushikiwabo said Kagame looked forward to the counsel and support of the Nigerian President when he assumes office as the AU chairman this month.
The statement quoted him as saying Kagame "will also need counsel on security issues in the Sahel, ongoing reforms in AU, borrow your expertise in agriculture, and renew friendship and kinship between our two countries.
"He will also need counsel on security issues in the Sahel, ongoing reforms in AU, borrow your expertise in agriculture, and renew friendship and kinship between our two countries."