As the world marks International Migrants Day 2020, a research conducted by a United Nations agency the Missing Migrant Project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has revealed that more Africans have lost their lives to irregular migration in 2020 than any other people across the world.

According to the data, out of about 3,101 migrants who died globally in 2020 while trying to reach different international destinations through irregular routes, 1,483 of them were Africans.

The Media Officer for The Migrant Project, Tayo Elegbede, said the deaths were recorded across six regions of the world between January 1 and December 16, 2020.

He said the data showed that Africans make up the highest number of dead irregular migrants at 1,483 followed by Americans at 580 with Asia, the Middle East and Europe accounting for the origin of 352, 147 migrants respectively.

The Migration officer said while 1,504 deaths were recorded on the Mediterranean sea, the minimal estimate data set further revealed that more migrants died in Africa more than other continents at 919.

About 646 migrants died in the Americas while Asia, the Middle East and Europe accounted for the deaths of 291, 105 and 85 irregular migrants respectively.

He said, “It is disturbing that despite the global COVID-19 Pandemic, irregular migration and human trafficking continue to thrive resulting in the death of many Africans,” said Tayo.

According to him, the COVID-19 Pandemic has exacerbated the push factors, risks and dangers of irregular migration across the world noting that “Before the pandemic, Africa was prominent for irregular migration due to poverty and social inequality. With economic depression across the world, we are seeing rising numbers in both regular and irregular migration from Nigeria and other African countries.

Similarly, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission, Franz Celestin, said this year’s theme in Nigeria, “Providing Protection and Assistance to Migrants during and post Pandemics: Strategies and Actions” was well-aligned with IOM’s global theme titled “Reimagining Human Mobility”, and the Global Compact for Migration, the intergovernmental agreement prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, presents an opportunity to reimagine human mobility for the benefit of all.