Nigeria to cooperate with EU to resolve refugee crisis

The Nigerian Government says it is willing to negotiate with the European Union regarding the influx of Nigerian refugees.

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this ahead of a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Mr Onyeama who spoke to Deutsche Welle gave the assurance  that “we certainly do not in any way encourage irregular migration.”

He said that the Nigerian Government was concerned that its youths are fleeing the country for Europe for economic and security reasons.

“This is a great concern to the government, and we feel that it really requires a holistic approach,”… “We understand that we really have to get our house in order,” the Minister said.

“If we can deal with the question of security, and once we can get the economy moving, lifting people out of poverty, providing jobs for our youth and so forth, there should not be that ‘push’ factor to emigrate.”

“We face enormous challenges, but it’s our firm belief that it’s the job of the government to really tackle those fundamental problems. Nigeria is a country that has tremendous economic potential. One of the main reasons for our country being in the position in which we are today is bad governance,” Onyema explained.

According to him one of the main points of negotiation with the EU is repatriation, “and how we can work on an agreeable and dignified manner of repatriating the irregular migrants. If an individual has family here, that is a factor which might also be considered, within the framework of the law, of course. In cases where there is no documentation, the German government is looking at giving European travel documents of some kind, whereas the Nigerian government is quite keen to give them Nigerian travel documents.”

The Minister also spoke about attacks on oil pipes in the Niger Delta which caused global petrol price turbulence. “An accommodation was reached with the various militant groups, and part of that accommodation was to involve them in the security and safeguarding of these pipelines …But the country does not have the financial resources to be paying as much for that as the previous government,” he added.

Onyeama denied allegations that his government had initiated any investigation against former president Goodluck Jonathan. He said the acting president Muhammadu Buhari had been “effusive in his praise of his predecessor and the way he conducted the handover.”

DW/PR/Nnenna.O