Nigeria Will Continue to Remain a Migrant-Friendly Nation – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria Will Continue to Remain a Migrant-Friendly Nation and that migrants as human beings are entitled to their fundamental human rights.
Buhari expressed this view while declaring open the 2018 National Migration Dialogue at the State House Banquet Hall, on Monday in Abuja.
The dialogue was orgainsed by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) in collaboration with relevant government agencies and departments, local agencies, academia and international agencies, with the theme: Realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for All including Migrants, Refugees and IDPs.
Buhari thanked the partners-especially, Switzerland, through Swiss Development Cooperation, the European Union Delegation and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for their support.
He said that Dec. 18 had been set aside by the UN for celebration of international migrants whose number today had risen to a staggering number of 258 million.
“Migration governance in Nigeria has seen continuous improvement as NCFRMI improve the coordination of all migration related matters in the country as well as the resettlement of IDPs in the nation.
“It is evident that various programmes and interventions aim to at provide IDPs, refugees and migrants with best tools to become self-reliant.
“Concrete examples of our efforts include the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerian migrants from Libya which was overseen by a delegation of top government officials.”
“The protection based services being offered to asylum seekers and refugees in Nigeria as well safe and voluntary return of thousands of Nigerians currently living as asylum seekers in Cameroon through a tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Cameroon and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.”
“Migration does not matter just because migrants add to development; migration also matters because migrants are first and foremost, human beings and are therefore entitled to their fundamental human rights,’’ he said.
Buhari said he was encouraged to know that Nigeria had made efforts in the fight against irregular migration.
He said that apart from approving a national migration policy which was an overall framework for the governance of migration in the country, the Federal Government had fared well in the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes.
The president listed some of the empowerment programmes as Npower, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme(GEEP) such as Trader Moni and Market Moni scheme.
On her part, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, said that the 2018 dialogue was timely.
Farouq said that the dialogue was holding at a time the world was grappling with migration challenges and countries were exploring measures for enhancing the positive impact of migration on the UN 2030 Agenda for SDGs.
She said that Nigerian delegation recently returned from the migration week held in Marrakesh, Morocco where the world gathered to celebrate the 11th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
“Today’s event is an indication of the strong commitment of the Nigerian government to the promotion of the plight of Nigerians on the move of those forcibly displaced within and outside the country.
“Migration has been at the centre of national and human development from time immemorial.
“Dividends of migration are seminal in the various global actions to eradicate poverty and ensure the integral development of the entire world citizens such as the current 2030 Agenda for sustainable development,’’ she said.
Farouq said that the commission aspired to be world-class humanitarian agency with effective durable solutions provided for Persons-of-Concern (POCs); hence the adoption of six components.
The components are-Organisational Development Framework, Social Support Systems for POPs, ICT and Date Management, Internal and External Communications, Strategic Partnership and Donors and Legal Frameworks.
In a goodwill message, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Mr George Steiner, said that Switzerland was proud to be identified with the event.
He said the conference bore witness to the close partnership Switzerland had with NCFRMI and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“I wish to reiterate Switzerland’s commitment to continue to partner with Nigeria in developing a comprehensive approach to migration issues and to ensure the well being of migrants and their contributions to SDGs are recognized and duly taken into account for the benefit of all us,’’ he said.
In his message, IOM’s Chief-of-Mission, Mr Frantz Celestine, said organisation was grateful for the partnership it had cemented with the Nigerian Immigration Service, NCFRMI and others.
He said that over the past 18 years, IOM had used the celebration to acknowledge the positive contributions of migrants to SDGs.
All the speakers took turns to wish Buhari a happy 76th birthday.(NAN)