A US-based Nigerian lawyer Mr. Paschal Nwokocha has advised Nigerian youths against embarking on illegal migration to other countries no matter the temptation owing to the dire consequences.
Mr. Nwokocha, born, bred and schooled in Nigeria but currently practicing immigration law in the USA, made this plea during a recent visit to Nigeria. He was visiting the office of the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) for an interactive session with staff, volunteers and community members of the child’s right and welfare NGO in Lagos as part of a give-back charity gesture.
‘The push-and-pull factor is currently prevalent all over the world. People are being pushed out of their countries and being pulled into countries and most times is it mainly the struggle for survival,’ he said. ‘Whether it is immigration to Ghana or other African countries, to Europe, to Canada or the USA, it is the same thing so people are fleeing their home for one thing or another. It could be as a result of domestic violence, crimes or the general quest for a better life, ‘ he added.
According to Barrister Nwokocha, caution must be applied because of what lies ahead for people that do not follow the legal procedures. He also blamed the crisis on the porosity of borders like that of Nigeria where people come in and go out without proper checks due to corruption or ineffectiveness of the system. He advised the mostly young listeners to follow due process and have valid reasons for migrating to other countries to avoid unpleasant eventualities.
The advice comes on the heels of massive death rates from people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in a bid to cross to Europe, dying in the Sahara Desert or being dehumanized and or killed in countries like Libya and in recent times, the controversial inhuman treatment of South American immigrants at the US-Mexico borders amidst a major tightening of immigration rules and clampdowns. It is all a quest for a better life but through illegal and dangerous routes.
Nwokocha, his wife, Engineer Ugo Nwokocha (nee Eko) and their children were visiting the head office of CEE-HOPE in a solidarity visit to the NGO as one of their staunch, longtime supporters, and to interact with staff and beneficiaries. The family’s support has helped in the educational scholarship support to children across Lagos, Ogun, Plateau and Benue including children in orphanages. The Nwokochas also support students and others in the Eastern part of the country where they hail from.
The recent visit by the family would be the second in two years. In August 2017, Mr. Nwokocha visited CEE-HOPE’s office and communities in Lagos namely Monkey Village and Makoko, interacting with workers and volunteers and also with about 400 children in all, in one day. He told them about his grass-to-grace story and encouraged them to stick to education which he described as a strong transformative tool.
Last year, the Nwokocha’s 15-year old daughter, Amaka, donated the $200 she raised from selling calendars with photos of their 2017 holiday visits to a number of African countries, including the Nigerian visit, to CEE-HOPE. The donation was used for educational support for child refugees from Southern Cameroon, staying in Cross River State.
This year, Mr. Nwokocha took time to encourage CEE-HOPE’s staff and the children, besides answering questions on immigration. Mrs. Nwokocha on her part, congratulated the children on their determination and the fact that there are already on their way to greatness. The Nwokochas also praised CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, Betty Abah on her vision of engaging and transforming the lives of vulnerable children and also promised their continued support.
Abah thanked them for their support that has proven very encouraging to the organization’s work over the years and prayed for more of God’s protection and elevation for them and their family.
Members of Monkey Village (Lagos) and Agbado-Oja (Ogun State) present also spoke on the great impacts of CEE-HOPE over their children’s lives.
The family later visited Makoko fishing community and were warmly welcome with cultural dances by members of CEE-HOPE’s Girls-Go-for-Greatness (Triple G) club at CEE-HOPE’s community centre. The Nwokochas encouraged the more than 100 children present to remain focused on their education and to be well-behaved, and later joined in the cultural dances.