The EU says it will partner the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Pan African Institute for Global Affairs and Strategy (PAIGAS) to end irregular migration of Nigerians.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Michel Arrion, made the promise in Abuja on Friday when some EU and PAIGAS officials paid a courtesy visit to the NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure.
Arrion said that many Nigerian youths were risking their lives in a bid to travel abroad to earn better living.
He said that the partnership would focus on entrepreneurship and skill development for the youths in order to open avenues for job creation and self-reliance.
He said the collaboration by the three organisations was a major EU strategy to provide the youths with skills to create jobs for themselves.
“The first thing we want to focus on is skills acquisition; skills that will help the youths to start a micro enterprise.
“We also hope to contribute to the policy of dialogue developing currently between the EU and many African countries. Nigeria has a very important role to play in this dialogue.
“One of the issues we have raised is the increasing desire of Nigerian youths to leave the country for Europe using irregular and illegal migration channels.
“We want to work together to discourage this act and to end this, we have to explain the risks, opportunities and various legal ways one can use to travel to Europe,” he said
Ambassador Martins Uhomibhi, the PAIGAS President, said that youths were great assets to the country.
Uhomibhi expressed optimism that PAIGAS would help in bringing succor to the country’s unemployed youths.
He, however, said: “the youths need to believe in themselves; they need to know that they can achieve anything they want to achieve.
“There is no need to go across the desert on a suicide mission because there are legitimate means they can use to achieve what they want.”
He said that this year alone, 17,000 Nigerians had migrated to Italy, stressing that something urgent needed to be done about the problem.
Kazaure assured the delegation that the NYSC was willing and ready to work with them and that skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development were main focus of the corps.
He said the collaboration would go a long way in addressing youth unemployment in the country.