The European Union (EU) says it will partner with Nigeria to evolve solutions to illegal migration, Richard Young, Deputy Delegation to the EU, has said.
Mr Young made this known in his address at the ‘‘Abuja Policy Debate’’ been organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), an NGO.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policy debate is a discussion forum on EU, Germany and Nigeria’s collaboration on migration.
According to him, there is need to contribute to the political discourse on topical issues in Nigeria by providing platform for stakeholders and policy makers to discuss and recommend way forward.
“Nigeria, as a sovereign nation is one of the most important to EU in Africa, in terms area of diplomatic relations on the fight against illegal migration.
“‘Closing of border is not a final solution and force is not, but whatever approach might have been employed the host country needs to cooperate with us.
“‘What we want to find out through partnership is Nigeria’s strategic plan to address illegal migration and cooperation between the two countries.
“‘We want to examine the respective level of partnership, if any at all that must have existed between us, because Nigeria is a place of importance.’’
Also speaking, Frantz Celestin, Deputy Chief of Mission of International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said that there was the need for awareness creation to curb illegal migration.
He described illegal migration to be multidimensional issue that required holistic approach, to be able to proffer solution to the problem.
Mr Celestin said ‘‘awareness is important and this is why we must work with various agencies to tackle it.
‘‘It is important to note that so many countries do not know who move in and out of the place, which is why there is need for partnership to achieve target.
‘‘There should be a holistic approach through establishment of data system with immigration service to enable governments collect know what is going on at the border.’’
He said the total of 8,700 people have so far been returned to Nigeria from Libya and that 59. 000 were yet to be returned back to the country.
According to him, helping people to return to their country is not enough, but reintegrating them back to the society is challenge.
In a remark, Ulrich Thum, Resident Representative of FES, said that the reason the organisation focused on Nigeria is because there were lots of illegal migrants in Germany.
According to him, it is contributing to economic challenges in our country therefore the call for partnership to proffer solution to the problem.
“There is need for Nigeria to collaborate with us on basis of bilateral relations, to help returnees gain back their normal life.
“They need basic amenities, particularly jobs and if we do not help them here in Nigeria, they might go back,’’ Thum said.
The high point of the event were panel discussion on EU, Germany and Nigeria’s collaboration on migration, question and answer, as well as, pose for group photograph.