By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Friday declared that Nigerians migrating illegally to Europe, were on their own as he would never support any illegality or indiscipline.
President Buhari stated this while fielding questions from journalists during a joint press briefing between him and the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said he was against his country men and women finding their way illegally out of Nigeria in search of greener pastures, stressing that he would never support indiscipline and illegality.
According to him, “I am against any of my country men and women who illegally find their way to other countries other than Nigeria, l hope you know that ECOWAS protocol includes free movements of persons and goods and services.
“But for those going to Europe, this administration does not support that Nigerians should defy the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean because they feel there are greener pastures there. We do not support anything illegal and indiscipline. You must recall that about six weeks ago, we repatriated about 3,000 Nigerians who were stuck in Libya on their way to Europe and you must also have learnt and seen on the television, the number of Nigerians lost in the Mediterranean.
“So, for us, this administration is very clear that we do not support anything illegal and anybody who feels that his country does not offer him what he should be offered and decides to defy the Mediterranean is doing so at his own risk. But if found stuck in Libya or anywhere, Nigeria will bring him back home and send him to his local government.”
Speaking through an interpreter during the joint press briefing after a closed door meeting with President Buhari, Merkel gave details of agricultural cooperation and other assistance coming to Nigeria.
She also said that Germany would provide educational assistance that would increase the number of Nigerian students studying in Germany. Merkel described Nigeria’s economy as strategically relevant in Africa, and that the partnership in food production, automobile manufacturing and energy would remain invaluable in cementing their relationship. She said both Nigeria and Germany were in agreement to arrive at what she described as a win-win situation and create legal means of migration.
She canvassed the need by Nigeria to improve on the state of its economy, pointing out that migrants should be made to realise the degree of danger inherent in illegal migration to Europe, adding that the belief that the streets of Germany were paved with gold was not true after all.
She advised immigrants to learn to stay in their own countries.
“In preparing for this visit, we engaged the spirit of win-win situation. We were in agreement to create a win-win situation on both sides by creating legal means of migration as it is in other countries.
“There is the need to improve on situation at home and make young people to know how dangerous it is to leave their countries. Many stories told about Germany are not true.”
Merkel who said Germany had signed an agreement with Nigeria on agriculture, added that this was done because Germany had not in the past focused so much on agriculture in Nigeria.
She also said Germany would engage Nigeria on how both countries can make renewable energy more efficient in the country adding that both countries would cooperate with each other on how agriculture could be developed and projects agreed upon implemented.
Disclosing that there are 1,200 Nigerians currently studying in Germany, Merkel said the German government was working to increase the number.
Both countries signed three memoranda of understanding on agriculture, commerce and automobiles.
On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed that Nigeria and Germany signed three Memoranda of Understanding, MoU, which includes the production of Volkswagen in Nigeria. Onyema said, “three MoUs were signed in Agriculture especially technologies in agricultural sector. One in building automative capacity to produce Volkswagon in the country and another to fund and finance risk taken in various business areas, this is running into billions of dollars investment.”