The United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has stated that more than 1000 Nigerians have been scammed by fake job opportunities in the United Kingdom.
IOM’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Boeck noted that some of the victims lost as much as $10,000 each in their desperate attempts to secure foreign jobs.
He said victims are stranded in the UK because some of them lack the means to come back, while others are ashamed of coming back to their families.
“There are some of them who lost over $10,000 only to be given fake employment letters, which allowed them to get visas.”
“They get there, present the letters, and the organisations tell them that the letters did not emanate from the organisations. Over a thousand people are affected,” he stated.
He also disclosed that over 260,000 Nigerians had approached the agency in 2023 seeking guidance on how to migrate through regular or approved routes and also undergoing pre-departure medical health assessments.
Boeck added that IOM is working with partners to repatriate thousands of people, including Nigerians, from Tunisia, which has recently placed a ban on migration.
On displacements, Boeck said there has been about a 30 per cent annual increase for the past five years in many states of the North West.
Noting that Zamfara remained the most impacted in this regard, he said the incidents of banditry and other crimes were fueling the increase.
“In Kano, people are displaced within and there are others who have migrated, which is why our offices in Libya and Niger have more migrants originating from Kano,” he stated.
“In 2023, IOM identified and supported 682 victims of trafficking, with a dedicated focus on vulnerable groups such as survivors of gender-based violence, persons with disabilities, and unaccompanied and separated children.
“Collaborating with the Federal Government of Nigeria, IOM facilitated the return of 4,431 Nigerians and supported their reintegration. A total of 2,853 individuals received reintegration assistance, engaging in socio-economic opportunities of their choice.
“IOM’s Migration Health efforts in 2023, including over 260,000 Pre-Departure Medical Health Assessments diagnosing and referring 166 migrants with TB, administering 15,000 vaccine doses, and renovating three public hospitals, exemplified the organization’s commitment to comprehensive healthcare,” he stated.