2 November 2018

Nigeria: Radio Drama Aims to Deter Dangerous Irregular Migration

Photo: Premium Times
Immigration officials screening Nigerian returnee from Libya during their arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

A new radio drama series co-produced by the U.N. Migration Agency and several Nigerian agencies working on migration and trafficking issues aims to deter people from risking their lives by making the dangerous journey to Europe. The series will be broadcast in Pidgin and Yoruba languages in six Nigerian states.

Speed FM in Edo State is one of several radio stations that will be airing "Abroad Mata," a 13-episode drama series on irregular migration, followed by live phone-in sessions where people get a chance to talk about their experiences with an expert panel.

In the first episode called "Waka Well", Efe, a young woman from Benin has just returned from a harrowing ordeal trying to cross the North African desert in hopes of getting to Europe. She tries to persuade her best friend Patricia, who is trying to reach Europe from Libya, to return home.

Perils of journey

Every year, tens of thousands of young men and women from West Africa make the perilous journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Many are exploited and abused by smugglers and traffickers on the way. Others drown in the Mediterranean.

Despite the risks, U.N. Migration Agency spokesman Joel Millman says irregular migration continues to flourish. He tells VOA social media propaganda and local gossip paint a rosy picture of life in Europe, enticing West African migrants to test their luck.

He says the radio series aims to counter this false picture.

”This is an effort to create a drama that is accessible, that is on the radio that people can hear and make up their own mind about whether or not they have been told the truth about the experience of trying to make it to Europe irregularly this way,” Millman said.

The series is being broadcast by stations in Edo, Delta, Oyo, Ogun, Imo and Lagos states.

The "Waka Well" episode has a happy ending. Patricia’s friends and his mama eventually convince him to return home, to everyone’s delight.

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