Nigeria and four other West African countries, top the list of migrants trying to escape by sea to Italy and dying during the journey, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has confirmed.
IOM, in a press statement released on Monday, said in 2017 alone, 19,567 migrants arrived by sea to Italy and majority of them were came from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and Gambia.
The organisation also said this year alone, 521 people have died in shipwrecks – “50 more compared to the same period in 2016… and the majority of these migrants are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and Gambia – same as in 2016.”
IOM said the migrants who make it to Europe say the journey is far more dangerous than expected.
“Many are unaware of the dangers and risks of migrating with the assistance of smugglers, not only at sea or in the desert, but also in transit countries like Libya,” the organisation said.
“Recalling the life-threatening risks along their journey is often very distressing and in many instances, most migrants wish to forget and move forward with their lives and therefore tend not to share their experience with peers who are still back home.”
The UN refugee agency had described 2016 as the “deadliest ever” for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, with at least 3,800 people having drowned.
Editor’s note: The majority of the migrants who die at the Mediterranean are not from Nigeria contrary to the earlier version of this report.