President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday urged illegal migrants to stay back in Nigeria and find ways to improve their personal economies.
He said such step was better for them than daring the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, with scores of lives lost in the process.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, who visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as a special envoy of President Paul Kagame.
He said the Nigerian government had taken it upon itself to bring back thousands of citizens now stranded in Libya.
Buhari said, “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 (the illegal migrants) mention for migrating illegally are untenable. They should stay here, and see how they can improve their own economies, instead of risking their lives.”
The President said Kagame, as the incoming Chairman of African Union, had the issues of South Sudan, separatist agitation in southern Cameroon, unrest in Togo, and many others on the continent, to contend with.
“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 said.
He added that Nigeria was taking steps to curtail the development.
Mushikiwabo told Buhari that Kagame looked forward to the counsel and support of the Nigerian President, as he assumes the AU chair from this month.
“He will also need counsel on security issues in the Sahel, ongoing reforms in the AU, borrow your expertise in agriculture, and renew friendship and kinship between our two countries,” he added.
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