The Journalists International Forum For Migration has pleaded with the Federal Government to go beyond accepting the repatriation Nigerian citizens from Saudi Arabia and ensure a thorough rehabilitation.
Ajibola Abayomi, President of the forum, made the plea in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Abayomi noted that a reintegration scheme for the 802 Nigerian deportees as they arrive in the country in batches would be needed and appreciated.
The Federal Government had earlier announced that 802 Nigerians would arrive in Abuja on January 28 29 from Saudi Arabia.
Abayomi also called for more proactive responses to a series of distress calls by Nigerians in difficult situations abroad.
He said the responses should be more on those standing trial and being jailed in several Arab nations without fair hearing.
He said: “Government should go beyond mere profiling, subjection to COVID-19 protocol and thereafter connect these people with their relatives.
“Repeatedly, we have said the root cause of irregular migration ranging from failing economic response to guarantee jobs and meaningful living standards for the people should be attended to.
“I would like to commend the government through the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) and other foreign missions for fine tuning the return of the migrants.”
Abayomi also observed that the returnees needed both psycho-social, mental and financial supports to adjust to life after varied encampment at various Saudi detention facilities.
Ajibola said time had come for the government to stand up to the reality that thousands of Nigerian youths were in the web of slavery in the Middle East, especially in Yemen, Kuwait and Lebanon, among others.
He said: “Several Nigerians are roaming the streets in all these places and living under the fear of immigration police.
“Time has come to further speak the truth to those in authority on how to manage returnees.
“The forum, with more than 300 international journalists across the continent, will host the African Migration summit in Accra, Ghana on February 25 and 26 in partnership with the NEKOTECH Centre of Excellence in Ghana.”