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SWITZERLAND: NIGERIA TOPS ILLEGAL MIGRATION LIST

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t style="color: black;">From Dele Ogbodo in Abuja, 06.11.2009

FCT
The Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Mr. Andreas Baum, Tuesday in Abuja,  disclosed that his country  witnessed rising number of illegal immigrants from West African countries with Nigerian nationals accounting for the highest number in the last one year.

He said the number tripled when compared to 2007 statistics of migration to Switzerland.

Migration Advisor at the Switzerland Embassy, Miss Patricia Dvoracek, who represented the  Ambassador made this disclosure at the opening of the 2-day workshop on “National Migration Policy for Regional Project: Migration in West Africa and Central Africa: National Profiles for Strategic Policy Development”.

The Ambassador pointed out that the global financial crisis was one of the major causes of illegal migrantion to Europe in search of new job opportunities.

Baum explained that 'These facts put our Federal Office for Migration, supervised by the Ministry of Police and Justice,  under public and political pressures. Quick and effective answers are required. One of the solutions which the Swiss government is promoting is by supporting the programme 'Migration in West and Central Africa: National Profiles for Strategic Policy Development through the International Organization for Migration (IOM)”.

He said Swiss Foreign Minister, Mrs. Michelline Calm-Rey, tabled the issue before Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, during her recent visit to Nigeria two months ago.

In a key note address, the Minister of Special Duties, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure, who spoke through his Permanent Secretary, Edith Gonda, said the workshop which was aimed at the presentation of migration, data-based profile for Nigeria would equip policy makers with the necessary tools to face the challenges of mixed migration flow was not only timely, but a right step towards mainstreaming migration issues in development programme of Nigeria.

He said the Federal Government's commitment to proffer solutions to the challenges posed by regular and irregular migration issues in Nigeria made it to grant additional responsibility granted to the National Commission for Refugees as a focal agency for the management of migration underscores its front burner in the present administration policy trust.

He said government is committed to effective management of migration issues by steaming the tide of irregular migration by discouraging migrants from using illegal routes that often lead to their untimely deaths. He said if migration is effectively managed will reduce the issue of brain drain and ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as well as the 7-point Agenda.