A REPORT OF THE MIGRATION LECTURES HELD AT LAGOS STATE NYSC ORIENTATION CAMP FROM JAN31 TO FEB 2, 2017
BY: MAGODO ASSOCIATES & THE PAN AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND STRATEGY
VENUE: NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS
ORIENTATION CAMP, IPAJA, LAGOS.
The letter (Ref. No. NYSC/DHQ/PRS/PL/19/VOL.VI/538) from the NYSC Director-General written on the 23 January,2017 informed Magodo Associates (MA) and The Pan African Institute for Global Affairs and Strategy (PAIGAS) that NYSC ” Management has made provision on the Orientation Course time-table for your organisation to present its (3 day) lecture from Tuesday 31 January to Thursday 2nd February, 2017 at 06:30 – 07:25 am in FCT and Lagos camps”
A meeting of representatives of MA and PAIGAS met in Abuja on the 24 January to deliberate on modalities for holding the lectures in the two camps simultaneously. It was resolved among other things to raise two teams but as much as possible utilise similar materials for the lectures so that the major objectives would be met. These are;
- to provide information and knowledge required in planning and executing legal and regular migration
- to provide information and knowledge required to raise awareness about risks involved in unplanned, illegal and irregular migration
- to provide information and knowledge about alternative courses of action that could support viable and meaningful existence in Nigeria.
In preparing to conduct the lectures in Lagos, Magodo Associates’ representatives paid a visit to the camp on Friday……… where they met with Mrs. Omaji, head of lectures and on the presentation of the NYSC letter showed them round the parade grounds and indicated that the lecture would be received on each of the three days by three different platoons. The numerical strength of each platoon according to her was about 700 men and women. She was very warm and cooperative but firmly warned that the would keep strictly to time. The representatives were happy with the reception and went away to make arrangements for public address system, projector, large screen, extension cables etc.
On Monday 30 January, that is, the eve of the lectures, Mr. Eddy Megwa, Assistant Director Public Relations, NYSC called to ask how the preparations for the lectures were going and also to say that he was in Lagos and was ready to lend a hand. Prof Oguntuashe briefed him fully. He too was insistent on adhering strictly to time.
THE LECTURE ON THE FIRST DAY
Magodo Associates’ team comprising Prof, Aderanti Adepoju (leadspeaker), Prof. Adebola Kukoyi, Surv. Remi Aromiwura and Prof Kayode Oguntuashe arrived at the venue at 5:45 am. Prince Mohammed Mommoh, the Lagos State Coordinator and Mr. Megwa met us at the gates of the camp and after introductions and the exchange of pleasantries led us to the Coordinators office. Much to our surprise, they were not only ready for us, they had in fact set up with a giant screen, projector and a public address system! Without much ado, the members of the first platoon were seated, the team was introduced and Prof, Adepoju mounted the rostrum with the lead lecture entitled ” THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER YONDER” He spoke eloquently to 6 slides on Typology and process of Migration which described the differences between regular and irregular migration, the forces such as unemployment, which drive people to migration; rules of entry, rules of residence, work etc. another slide depicted irregular migration routes such as the Sahara, Mediterranean Sea, Air/Sea stow away and the risks/consequences involved. Yet another slide provided information and statistics about the number of Nigerians in jail in various countries abroad on account of immigration offences. The last slide on ” To stay or not to stay; what is your take?” was used by the lecturer to draw the audience into a debate on the various issues that had been raised. This strategy enabled the other facilitators as well as the State coordinator and Mr. Megwa to share information and experience with the corps members. The interest generated by the lead lecture was very infectious and in fact raised some issues that we did not anticipate.
The Camp leadership was gracious enough to give the lead speaker a one-in-a life-time opportunity of inspecting a guard of honour mounted by corps members. For this kind gesture, we remain very grateful.
On the first of February, the lead speaker expose the platoon members to a documentary film on the National Policy on Migration. The first part of it discussed the concepts, definitions, antecedents, justification and objectives of the policy. The second part enumerated the processes and procedures needed to embark on what he called “regular” migration and then highlighted the positive socio-economic and cultural consequences of regular migration which include foreign exchange remittances in quantities sufficient for it to be second only to the sale of crude oil. The third part detailed graphically risky, dangerous and often-times murderous routes taken by irregular migrants across the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea. The documentary ended by providing a platform for other facilitators and officials of NYSC to yet again share their experiences with the corps members. As a matter of fact the State coordinator narrated the example of a young corps member who took a small loan of N250,000.00 and through hard work, perseverance and self -control has become a big poultry farmer in Oyo State. He went further to drop a hint concerning an imminent collaborative effort between Lagos State and NYSC on providing funding for entrepreneurial initiatives to corps members.
On the third and last day of the lecture, the lead speaker combined elements of the slides used on the first day with elements of the documentary employed on the second day to set up an interactive session. The intense debate it generated almost got out of hand but at the end of the day, there appeared to have been a solid shift in attitudes as the number of those who stated at the beginning of the lecture that they would “emigrate, no matter what” came down from 82 to 30 at the end of the interaction.
On the last day, two thousand flyers were given to the head of lectures to distribute to corps members. Each flyer contained 13 carefully crafted messages to reinforce careful planning of migration and dissuade unplanned, risky and dangerous migration.
Had we administered a pre- and post-lecture instrument, the difference would have given us an empirical evidence of the impact and effectiveness of the lecture. This was not done for many reasons not least of which is that it would have taken up at least 15 minutes to do so. Nonetheless, it was clear from the number of contributions, questions, observations and their intensities that the lecture was topical, timely, relevant and engaging. Even if attitudes did not shift completely, minds were stirred. Since the lectures, contemporaneous events such as 1. “Travails of Nigerian stuck in Libya after selling four-bedroomed house for N450,000.00 and 2. “The deportation of over 100 Nigerians from Libya”, as reported by Punch of 4th and 17th February, 2017 respectively would “force” those corps members who listened to the lectures to look before they leap.
We would like to recommend that the following steps be considered in order to make subsequent lectures more effective and available to a greater number of corps members if not all of them.
- That NYSC should commission the making of a customised documentary by PAIGAS/MA that would do justice to the three objectives stated in the ” Introduction of this report. NYSC would have the copyright.
- That NYSC should commission the making of short but powerful 20 minute drama-sketch targeted at the three objectives and using popular Nollywood actors.
- PAIGAS/MA would identify and train academics from relevant disciplines in Universities across the six geo-political zones who in turn would facilitate interactive sessions in camps simultaneously using either the documentary or the drama sketch.
- Before each interactive session, a pre-lecture evaluative instrument would be administered while a post-lecture one would be completed by each listener. Hence the difference would indicate effectiveness.
Magodo Associates hereby places on record its appreciation to the Director-General of NYSC and its Management for providing leadership and magnificent human and material support all of which made the lectures possible. Our partner, PAIGAS deserves commendation for exemplary behaviour of its leadership and purposeful/altruistic collaboration. The European Union in Nigeria also ought to be thanked for believing in the project right from the beginning. Their commitment to the project is sealed by the presentation of the EU leader at Abuja NYSC Camp. Lastly but certainly not the least are the young people we interacted with both in Lagos and Abuja. We thank you for your attention and hope that the seed we planted through the lectures would grow into a big mustard tree whenever you propagate the message to your peers in your communities.