11. THE RELIGIOUS RESPONSE TO MIGRATION AND REFUGEE CRISES IN CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA
Udoh, Emmanuel Williams, Ph. D – Department of Religious and Cultural Studies
University of Calabar, Calabar – Nigeria.
E-mail: email@example.com; GSM: 08034038013
The movement of people from one country to another in search of greener pasture, peaceful settlement and so on, has become very rampant in the world today. These same reasons have triggered internal migrations as well. Lives have been lost in the bid to circumvent immigration laws of countries by immigrants. The current spate of wars, political crises, natural disasters and hunger has led to increase in illegal migration in the world. Nigeria is not left out. We hear of boundary clashes and insurgencies, which have resulted in illegal emigration to other countries basically in search of job opportunities and better living conditions. Nigerians have severally been repatriated from foreign lands. Recently, over five thousand Nigerians were repatriated from Libya. Nigeria has also played host to migrants from neighbouring countries, and has experienced internal migration in several parts of the country. The frequently asked questions are: “what role can religion play in curbing the spate of illegal migration and refugee crises in Cross River State, Nigeria? The research discovered that religion can be a veritable partner to government in resolving this ever-increasing menace that has become an embarrassment to the state and nation. This work adopted qualitative or explorative research method. It employed the content analysis approach in examining available printed materials on the subject matter. In view of its peculiarity, oral interviews were conducted on specific groups and individuals. This work proposes the involvement of religious organisations in preaching and teaching on the dangers of illegal migration, the provision of vocational training for our teaming youth population to reduce emigration, and the provision of counselling and resettlement programmes for the repatriated and those in refugee camps across the country. The work also encourages the government to evolve modalities to curb the spate of violence and bloodshed that has fuelled refugee crises in Cross River State and Nigeria in general.