NUC approves take-off of postgraduate programmes on migration at Azikiwe varsity

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the commencement of postgraduate programmes on Migration by the Centre for Migration Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

The Master’s degree programmes: M.A. Migration, M.Sc. Migration Studies and Master of Migration Studies of the University were formally presented to stakeholders on Tuesday in Abuja.

Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Okechukwu, in his remark at the event said his university decided to set up its Centre for Migration Studies, “the first in any Nigerian University and second in Africa,” in order to respond from the academic perspective to the local and global challenges and potentials thrown up by migration.

He disclosed that the Centre was beginning with 20 students that have already enrolled for postgraduate programmes.

The immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Joseph Ahaneku who represented the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, also read the speech of the Vice-Chancellor, Okechukwu at the event.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, said the programme would provide migration managers, policymakers and the high-level personnel with the skills to effectively address the multifaceted issue of migration.

She noted that scarce employment opportunities, corruption and poverty have forced thousands of young Nigerians to emigrate every year in search of better quality life.

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Farouq lamented that the bulk of irregular migration in Nigeria occurs among youth age of 18-35 years, which is the most productive age of human life and that this was driven by economic incentives.

According to her, this rise in irregular migration has greatly affected the development of the country.

“You will agree with me that Nigeria is faced with corruption and endemic poverty with nearly 70 per cent of her population living below the poverty line according to the National Bureau of Statistics (2010).

“Irregular migration is fast on the increase and is largely facilitated by forgery of passports, visas, false asylum claims, bogus marriages under false pretence, human smuggling and human trafficking and a host of other avenues,” she said.

The Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Senator Garba Mohammed, said he was glad that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University has taken the lead on mainstreaming of migration studies in academic institutions in Nigeria.

Mohammed who was represented by the coordinator, Technical Working Group on Migration at the Commission, decried the deficit of migration experts in Nigeria, saying this was one of the reasons why the Refugee Commission had to champion the campaign for institutionalization of migration activities in university curriculum in Nigeria.

“We are happy that the engagement is yielding fruit as being showcased today. We are equally hopeful that the deficit in migration experts in Nigeria will be addressed through the training of young migration professionals in Nigeria through research,” he said.

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