cite insecurity, political prosecutions as reasons
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Bernhard Schlagheck has said that 13,000 Nigerians are currently seeking asylum in Germany.
Reasons for such applications, according to him ranged from insecurity arising from Boko Haram insurgency to political prosecutions in Nigeria.
Ambassador Schlagheck however hinted that his country was not convinced that there is political persecution in Nigeria at the moment.
He said that the German government was adopting legal measures as required by the international laws and conventions to ascertain the veracity of the claims.
Ambassador Schlagheck made the revelations on Wednesday in Abuja when the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora led by its chairman, Hon. Rita Orji visited the German embassy on oversight functions essentially predicated on the recently assented Diaspora Commission Bond bill by the Presidency.
He said that about 90 to 99 percent of the applications were not likely to be granted.
He said: “There are 13,000 asylum applications in Germany. It is a serious examination. We are legally required to know if the person (applying) has been prosecuted for political reasons.
“Think of Nigeria in the way you want but there is no political prosecution here. The likelihood that most of these absurd applications are rejected is almost 90 to 99 percent.”
The Ambassador also bemoaned a situation where many Nigerian women cross over to the country only to engage in prostitution.
Noting the cordial relationship that had existed between Nigeria and Germany over the years, Schlagheck said that Germany’s visa processes were not cumbersome for people with genuine economic and educational intentions
He lauded the Committee for such an interactive session, saying it was needed to deepen the bilateral relationships between the two countries.
“Our relationship is of particular significance. This is a very good opportunity to foster a bilateral relation. The Diaspora communities on both sides are working hard. We feel privileged to have this exchange with you. I think the Nigerian Diaspora in Germany is very important.
“I am grateful with the degree of relationship we have with the Nigerian government.
“Some people wishing to study in Germany, it is not difficult to get a visa. It is easier than you think. It requires filing the details or you can just go to our website”, he said.
He also stated that there were Nigerians “who were willing to return”, because “the pastures are not green”.
He however stated that the issues should not be allowed to overshadow the relationship between the two countries, acknowledging that a score of Nigerians living in Germany were making positive impacts on the society.
“But we should not allow it (the issues) to overshadow our bilateral relationship. We are treating it in some ways that are in conformity with international treaties”, he said.
Earlier, the Committee had raised the issues double citizenship, vocational trainings and educational exchanges with the ambassador.
Particularly, the Chairman, Hon. Orji stated that the interaction was a platform to elicit the cooperation of embassies and their governments in the implementation of the Diaspora Bond to grant Nigerians resident abroad an improved welfare and protection.
Stating that the German embassy was the first port of call amongst the lot in Nigeria, the lawmaker also commended the friendly cooperation that had existed between Nigeria and Germany, adding that both countries needed to do more to deepen such relationship.