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FG and IOM sign memorandum of understanding on the reintegration of migrant women and children

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By Ifeanyi Nwoko

The Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to improve interventions in favor of migrant women and children.

The memorandum of understanding, which was signed Thursday in Abuja, would also focus on interventions around gender-based violence, children’s rights as well as violence against people.

Women’s Affairs Minister Pauline Tallen, who spoke shortly before the signing of the MoU, said the MoU would foster relations between the ministry and IOM on interventions in areas of mutual interest.

“Today, history is being made as we witness another glorious moment in consolidating our activities in our areas of mutual interest.

“This event further strengthens the existing relationship between our organizations, which I believe dates back to August 2002, when the first Memorandum of Understanding was signed.

“I am convinced that the implementation of the provisions of the work plan and the MoU will not only be inclusive, but will also have a positive impact on the well-being of the target group.

“We will focus on interventions around gender-based violence, the Children’s Rights Act 2002 and the Violence Against Persons Act 2015, the protection of migrant children, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

“The MoU comes at the right time as we work to develop the third national action plan as prepared for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution on women, peace and Security.

“This will therefore greatly contribute to refocusing projects and programs that will help the country and have a positive impact to improve the situation of our target beneficiaries,” she said.

She stressed that although the ministry has been at the forefront of resolving the issue of migrants; such a coordinated intervention was very important and timely.

Frantz Celestin, Head of Mission, IOM, said the first point of appeal after signing the MoU was the assessment of shelters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He pointed out that the focus on women stemmed from IOM data which showed that 42 percent of the more than 20,000 Nigerian migrants returned by IOM were women.

Célestin stressed that women and children were the most exploited and the most affected by violence and marginalization.

“I am truly honored to be a part of this historic moment. I know that together, by building on our respective strengths, we can do a lot.

“In recent years we have seen what we called the feminization of migration. Where more and more women are moving.

“They often find themselves in vulnerable situations, be it trafficking or exploitation.

“Looking specifically at Nigeria, our data showed that 42% of the 20,000 Nigerian migrants that IOM brought back from Libya in the past three years are women.

“Our data also shows that they often suffer from the most severe cases of exploitation and abuse. They need more support when they come back to fully reintegrate into society, ”he said.

The IOM chief said the organization’s program seeks to empower women and children by removing the veil of victimization.

“We know they can be masters of their own destiny. This is why this memorandum of understanding is so important.

“This MoU will link IOM’s work to the ministry’s strategic plan and operational framework, particularly the strategic outcome areas.

“IOM looks forward to having specific ministry focal points to participate in our proposed quarterly coordination meetings,” he said. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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