- There is desperation among citizens of less developed countries including the African continent to travel to European countries
- The United Nations says Nigeria and Eritrea now top the list of those travelling through dangerous routes just to get to Europe
Nigeria is one of the countries that has the highest number of citizens who desperately take dangerous routes just to get to Europe, a report from the office of the UN high commissioner for refugees has said.
There are constant reports of migrants drowning while on illegal routes abroad. While releasing the new report titled: ‘Desperate Journeys’, the UNHCR director of Europe Bureau, Vincent Cochetel, said these migrants make use of people who smuggle them into Europe or take boats not meant for such journeys.
“About 90 percent of them travelled by boat from Libya, and the top two nationalities of those arriving were Nigerians (21 per cent) and Eritreans (11 per cent).
“This route is particularly dangerous and in 2016, more deaths were recorded at sea than ever before. Furthermore, children making this journey are especially vulnerable, and the number of unaccompanied and separated children arriving is increasing.
“Last year more than 25,000 came, representing 14 percent of all new arrivals in Italy. Their number more than doubled compared to the previous year,” Cochetel warned adding that the report shows that people continued to move but undertook more diversified and dangerous journeys, often relying on smugglers because of the lack of accessible legal ways to Europe.
“In total, some 181,436 people arrived in Italy in 2016 by sea, out of which 90 percent travelled by boat from Libya.
“Those who came to Italy in 2016 include people in need of international protection, and also victims of trafficking and migrants seeking better lives.
“The top two nationalities of those arriving in Italy were Nigerians (21 percent) and Eritreans (11 percent). A striking feature is the increasing number of unaccompanied and separated children making the journey, over 25,000 in 2016.
“They represented 14 percent of all new arrivals in Italy and their number more than doubled compared to the previous year.
“The journey to Italy is particularly dangerous, with more deaths at sea in the Mediterranean recorded in 2016 than ever before.
“Of the 5,096 refugees and migrants reported dead or missing at sea last year, 90% travelled along the sea route to Italy, amounting to one death for every 40 people crossing,” the report said.