By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
As part of measures to effectively manage its migration crisis, the Federal Government has signed a “Seat Agreement” with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development ICMPD, an international organization with 17 Member States that is active in more than 90 countries worldwide.
The negotiation, which started in 2015, saw both parties through a rigorous and intense process that provided deeper insights on the potential benefits for cooperation between both entities.
At the event which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday in Abuja, Acting Director of Consular Division and Processes Reviewals who represented the minister, Mohammed Manu said Nigeria is displeased with the manner in which many of its bright minds continue to leave the country in search of greener pastures.
While he praised the ICMPD for their role in supporting Nigeria to curb irregular migration, Manu called for more enlightenment of citizens in order to halt their continued exodus out of the country.
He said; “ICMPD is not a new organization in the country. They have been here for many years and this process we are having today is actually long overdue but for it to take place, so many protocols had to be followed.
“I want to thank ICMPD for all they have been doing in this country. The global migration crisis which started around 2014 has brought a lot of challenges to countries of origin, transit or destination in terms of handling irregular migration. Countries rose to these challenges to see how they could handle these challenges collectively and some times individually.
The European Union EU, Nigeria and other African countries have been cooperating to tackle these challenges and one of the main handlers from Europe is ICMPD.
It has done a lot in coordinating the five different agencies established by the Federal government of Nigeria for migration management and a lot has been achieved. Apart from helping to repatriate irregular migrants from Libya, they have also done a lot in reintegration with the collaboration of other agencies.
“Certainly, we know what you have done and we call on you to do more. We are not happy with the way our people are pouring into other countries. These are very good brains that we can utilize in the country. So, all we need is massive enlightenment to see how they can be brought back to Nigeria and how they can be reintegrated into the society”, he said.
Director-General of ICMPD, Michael Spindelegger who was represented by the Director of Migration Dialogues and Cooperation, Martijn Pluim said the agreement would further stabilize its presence in Nigeria as well as allow it to do more for the country and the sub-region.
“I am happy that with the present agreement, our presence in the country would be further stabilized. It will enable us to do more activities also in other areas of the country like irregular migration, trafficking in persons, more private sector engagements and others. Our office will also support the activities in Ghana and we will use the opportunity of our presence here to work together with the ECOWAS Secretariat”, he said.
Head of Office, ICMPD in Nigeria and West Africa, Mojisola Shodeinde thanked the Federal government for the confidence reposed in the organization, saying it would spur them to engage more with the relevant agencies of government to effectively manage migration processes.
She said; “For ICMPD, it is a demonstration of Nigeria’s confidence in our organization and approval of the various actions that we have been taking and the various projects that we have been doing, the collaborations that we have with various national institutions from the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons NCFRMI, Nigeria Diaspora Commission NIDCOM to the various institutions of government that we have been working with and supporting. We do appreciate the recognition that we are receiving today. It can only be better. From our side, we promise that with this signing of the country agreement, that we will be doing so much more and be more engaged in what we are doing”.
The ceremony which had in attendance representatives of the EU, Austria, Switzerland, the International Organization on Migration IOM and others would deepen ICMPD’s collaboration with the federal government in the pursuit of making migration and mobility of people in the region orderly, safe and regular, including through the implementation of planned and well- managed migration policies.
It would also strengthen ICMPD’s commitment to providing an alternative approach to migration management in Nigeria.