John Ameh, Abuja
Thirty-seven thousand Nigerians emigrated to Italy in 2016 alone, the President, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Mrs. Laura Boldrini, disclosed in Abuja on Monday.
She spoke during a visit to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, at the National Assembly, Abuja.
The chamber of deputies is the equivalent of the House of Representatives in Italy.
Italy too has an upper chamber, the Senate.
Boldrini, who condemned terrorism, said Italy commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in securing freedom for 82 of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
She added that the parliament in Italy was ready to support Nigeria where possible in the rehabilitation programme for the victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.
She also said Italy was against trafficking in persons, especially the girl child, stating that in 2016, the total number of Nigerians who arrived in her country was 37,000.
Boldrini added, “We support unified efforts for both countries to check terrorism. Italy stands by Nigeria’s side to combat terrorism.
“We do appreciate your efforts and believe that since terrorism is a threat to the entire world, we need to join forces in this regard.”
On the provision of aid to terrorism victims, she added, “It is important that the international community continues to provide funding, to get resources for those in need so that they don’t cut aid for victims of terrorism in this country.”
On his part, Dogara called for economic empowerment and education for the citizenry in poorer countries to contain terrorism and illegal migration.
Concerning Nigerians who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean in a bid to get to Europe, Dogara said Italy and Nigeria must work together to address the problem.
He stated, “One of the problems giving rise to all these challenges is the lack of economic opportunities. The problem is that someone will really have to run out of hope for him to undertake this type of tortuous journey that traverses the Sahara Desert and even cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe.”
“It means that there is general loss of hope. The truth is that for us to deal with terrorism, illegal migration, trafficking and cross-border crimes, we have to address the issue of bringing prosperity to sister countries so that citizens are catered for and jobs are provided.” (Punchng.com)