As part of its campaign to stem the tide of irregular migration in Nigeria, a concerned group, The Migrant Project has taken the campaign against irregular migration to the football pitch.
Last week, youths turned out in their numbers to take part in a series of friendly football matches, which were organised to raise awareness against the scourge and offer viable alternatives to the Nigerians.
Six teams participated in the friendly matches which took place at the Ejigbo mini-stadium in Ejigbo, Lagos.
The organizers said the programme was aimed at taking the message on the risks and realities of irregular migration to the youths at the grassroots level, in the spirit of the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The match started with two junior teams, the Golden Star FC and the Diamond FC, with Diamond FC beating its opponent by two goals to nothing. The trophy for senior category was fiercely contested between Success FC and the Golden Star FC. The match ended goalless, resulting in a penalty shoot-out which saw Success FC beating its opponent.
Similarly, two other senior teams, the Invincible FC locked horns with the Bright Star FC. The match equally ended in penalty shootout, with the Invincible FC coasting home to victory.
Lagos Coordinator of The Migrant Project, Olusoji Ajao said the matches in Ejigbo are a part of the project’s programmes lineup to expand the campaign against irregular migration particularly in Lagos and Nigeria in general.
He said: “In the days ahead, we shall visit other locations in Lagos for several matches for both male and female football players and lovers.”
According to the facility manager of the Ejigbo mini-stadium, Gbenga Popoola, the matches and awareness campaign are timely interventions to enlighten several youths, who have been victims as well as those who intend to embark on irregular migration on the dangers that await them.
Media officer for the project, Tayo Elegbede noted that over 1,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in the first six months of 2018, while hundreds of thousands have died in the desert. He also said that many people are currently experiencing grave inhuman treatments in Libya in their quest to travel to Europe through the irregular routes.
“The Migrant Project is a behavourial change campaign, which aims at properly equipping Nigerians with the right information about irregular migration, so they could make informed decisions, bearing in mind that irregular migration is a disaster waiting to happen,” he noted.