By G9ija

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has charged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to take the issue of migration seriously with a view to avoiding a rise in extremism.

The immediate past governor of Osun State, who was addressing participants of a two-day regional conference on “Migration in West Africa: Challenges and Solutions” in Abuja, made the appeal against the backdrop of the recent attacks on African migrants in different countries and the desperate journeys by the people across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea among other related matters.

Represented by the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, the minister said the nation and the service were taking steps to address the challenge of migration while not undermining the rights of migrants.

Expressing confidence that the gathering would provide an opportunity for experts and discussants to critically examine the challenges of migration in West Africa and proffer practical and sustainable solutions without losing sight of the peculiarities of the individual nations, Aregbesola added that Nigeria was reviewing its laws to meet the demand of the time.

Part of the steps being taken by the most populous black nation, the minister disclosed, was the repeal of the Immigration Act 1963 found incapable of addressing the prevailing irregular migration issues.

In its place is a new Immigration Act passed in 2015 and signed into law in 2017.

The move was to strengthen the legal framework of the NIS to adequately contain the conventional and emerging migration issues at the local and internal fronts.

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