The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has dedicated the African Migration Legendary award he won at the maiden African Migration Summit held in Accra, Ghana, on February 26, 2021 to the good people of his state.
Ayade was singled out for the award owing to his commitment towards promoting positive migration by being the first governor in the entire sub-Saharan Africa to establish a state owned Migration Control Agency according to the President of the Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM),Ajibola Abayomi.
JIFORM, headquartered in Nigeria, is a body with over 300 journalists covering migration across the continents which organized the event in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana who was represented by the Director Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Mr Akwasi Awua Ababio while officially unveilin the event, described the conference as a path to champion gainful migration policy for the continent.
Speaking during a chat with journalists on Friday in Lagos, the Governor expressed appreciation to the JIFORM, stating that he was ready to do more to encourage regular migration in order to add value to the remittance on the continent.
Commenting on the award, the Director General Migration Control Agency, Cross River State,Prince Michael Nku Abuo Wellington, JP,who represented the governor at the occasion said,“I dedicate this award to the good people of Cross River State for the excellent support we have been receiving since 2015.”
Also honored with migration meritorious award President Nana, Susan Gong, the CEO, Altec Global, Canada, Prof. Lumumba, former minister of Immigration Canada, Gerry Weiner, bestselling author of Decent Work who doubles as chairman Nekotech Center of Excellence, H E Dr Princess .A.K Ocansey, a member of the African Union Labour-Migration Advisory Committee and the Manager News, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria 10.5 FM, Peters Abiola who was voted African Migration Reporter of the year.
Speaking, Prince Abuo explained that, ”Now Cross River State as a state has border with Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea via the Atlantic Ocean and within Nigeria borders Benue, Abia, Always Ibom and Ebonyi….aside its location, the fertility and hospitality of her people makes her a hot spot for local and international migration. The crisis in the northern part of Nigeria and the middle belt as well as the civil war in Cameroon and the Bakassi imbroglio has seen migrants who are Internally Displaced People, IDP, and refugees pouring into the state.
“The Cross River State Government is one that is very committed to the affairs of migrants and IDPs within and outside the State, this is evidence by the creation of a Mother Agency-Cross River State Migration Control Agency, to oversee the affairs of migrants, refugees, IDPs and keep track of new settlers in the state.
“What some people do not understand is that migration has both its positive and negative sides. For example in a report in 2019 remittance of Nigerians in diaspora contributed to over 5 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, this example is widespread across Africa as Migrants of Africa origin are key contributors to their nation’s GDP.
“The negative part about migration is the fact that those who seek to engage in the same illegal and ill advised become victims of trafficking, others are killed and organs harvested while some are duped or die in the process of their irregular migration.
“There’s also the security and health implications of migration as a porous system can see an increase in crime by foreigners and or introduction of health risk etc if not properly checked the case of Ebola and the recent corona virus is an eye opener.
“Globally the issue of migration is a hot cake as this topic in Europe and other developed nations has seen the rise and fall, support or criticism of the government and several intervention funds set up to address the trend of illegal migration”.
Dignitaries and agencies that participated at the event included : Claudia Turbay Quintero, the Columbian ambassador in Ghana and the dean of all foreign mission corps; Chairman Nigeria House of Representatives Diaspora Committee, Hon Tolulope Akande-Sadipe.
Others were the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett- Head of Mission Diaspora African Forum, H.E. Ambassador Winifred Nii Okai Hammond, Ghana’s Ambassador to Egypt, Head of Nig, Rev.Dr. Lawrence Tetteh, Prof. Joseph Teye, Director of Migration Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Prof Byon Price of Diaspora Institute, America, Migration Forum Asia, Rebirth Hub Africa, Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Institute Development, Dr. Williams Azuma Ijoma, President of Organisation pour l’Intégration Africaine Lomé, Togo. and others.