From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Worried by the high rate of irregular migration, Nigeria and Switzerland have renewed partnership to tackle the menace which both countries admitted that it had led to the death of thousands of people.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who spoke yesterday while celebrating the 10th anniversary of Nigeria-Switzerland cooperation, noted that the fight against irregular migration was a collective battle.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Bashir Alkali Nura she said: “No single state or organization can manage migration alone. Your Excellences, Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen, I must state that Nigeria believes in strategic collaboration and partnership and has engaged and entered into bilateral and multilateral partnership both intra and intercontinental.
“In all this, the Nigeria/Switzerland bilateral partnership is outstanding and enjoys a unique kind of strategic relationship based on mutual trust and respect for each other.
“Permit me to state that our partnership with the Swiss in all its ramifications is often used as a reference point in our diplomatic engagements with other nations.
“The Nigeria-Swiss Bilateral Partnership on Migration conducted under the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) for instance has proven to be a model of diplomatic pragmatism on issues of common interest specifically relating to migration.
“This strong Migration Partnership between Nigeria and Switzerland was signed in 2011. It aimed at intensifying the cooperation between the two countries in the field of migration especially in ensuring humane and dignified return of irregular migrants from Switzerland to Nigeria with benefits attached to facilitate their reintegration into the society.
“The partnership has over the years expanded to provide a number of laudable projects targeted towards better management of migration in Nigeria and mainstreaming migration into development.
“Prominent among the projects is consolidating migration governance architecture which has facilitated the decentralization of migration governance to the Nigerian six geopolitical zones and institutionalizing a whole of government and whole of society approach in migration governance by integrating the civil society organisations and the academia into the architecture.”
Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Federal Councilor and Head of Federal Department of Justice and Policy, Karin Keller-Sutter, said her country would continue to accept migrants with relevant skills and qualifications.
“As far as regular migration is concerned we are bound by Swiz laws, as you might know we have a free movement of workers just within the European Union. And as far as four States are concerned, for specialists.
“Nigerian specialists on this project system can also come to Switzerland
But the projects we have are based on reintegration of project.
“We also have projects to have work for people coming back, which is important that when they come back to Switzerland or have to go back to Nigeria they have a job opportunity and this is what is the focus of the migration partnership.
“It is not regular migration as this is restricted for all nationals to Switzerland which are not European Union citizen.
“We have a system of assisting also the Nigerian judicial system, we do our best in that field. I told you it may be that it is possible to improve this judicial cooperation between Switzerland and Nigeria
“The system we have is for talented, also qualified people it is not impossible to go to Switzerland,” she said.