The International Organization for Migration reports more than 270 Nigerian migrants who recently returned from Libya have completed a skills training course to help them start their own businesses.
Migrants attending this weeklong event in the Nigerian capital Lagos have shared stories of the business frustrations that drove them to try to go to Europe in search of better economic opportunities.
U.N. migration agency spokesman, Paul Dillon, told VOA the migrants also have shared stories of the abuse and suffering they endured at the hands of smugglers and traffickers in Libya. At the same time, he said returnees enrolled in this business course have spoken of their hopes for the future.
"The goal of these types of initiatives is always to give people options and providing them with business skills training, for example. It certainly does that.Start up a small business at home, get hired on by a local company, build your life back in Nigeria. I think that is the goal and also to encourage formal migration efforts," he said.
This is the 21st training course since the program was started in April 2017. IOM reports more than 2,000 Nigerian returnees have participated in courses given in Lagos, Edo, Nassarawa, Kano and Kaduna States.
Dillon said many of the returnees have become involved in collective reintegration schemes or community-based projects, such as fruit juice, palm oil and plantain processing factories.
He said training now is focused on creating more sustainable businesses, not just on regular trading, buying and selling. Therefore, he said there is greater concentration on agriculture-related businesses, which are more sustainable and more beneficial to the returnees' communities.
He said IOM, together with the Ministry of Labor and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and industry are organizing a job fair at the end of September.This, he said, will give returnees the opportunity to meet leaders in Nigeria's private sector and to search for jobs to match their skills.