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Catholics Deliberate On Illegal Migration

Aug 6, 2009, 10:24 AM

West African Catholic heads yesterday deliberated on illegal migration in the region during their Plenary Assembly and Workshop of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa, currently underway at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

Over forty-five Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, Priests from Anglophone West Africa deliberated on the theme, "Youth and Migration in West Africa," among thousands of government officials, Ambassadors, well-wishers and a good number of Catholics.

His Eminence Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, and the Chairman and President of the Plenary Session of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA), said AECAWA's study of the issue of migration in their region is their local church's participation in a 'global study of a global issue', with a view to customising global solutions for their region and the local Church.

Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, the Vice-President of the Republic of the Gambia, speaking on behalf of President Jammeh, said the theme "Youth and Migration in West Africa" are most appropriate as the government has since its inception in 1994, not only made clear-cut pronouncements against the migration of African youths in general to so-called greener pastures, but has put in place concrete projects and initiatives to encourage Gambian youths to stay and contribute meaningfully to national development."

She further talked about her government's effort in setting up projects and scholarship schemes, targeting the girl-child.

VP Njie-Saidy appreciated the exemplary contributions of the Christian community, and in particular, the Catholic Mission.

"The Catholic Mission has always stood shoulder-to-shoulder with government in all spheres of human advancement," she said, adding that she was optimistic that the end of the session would be fruitful.

Ebou A. A. Jallow, the Assistant Director of Population Affairs at the National Population Commission Secretariat in the Office of the Vice-President, dwelt on the definition of youth migration, causes and its perilous consequences, the global trends, migration from The Gambia, migrants in The Gambia, possible strategies, among others.

A host of other distinguished personalities presented papers on the topic.