EU, Nigeria agrees to work closely on migration, mobility

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European Union and Nigeria have agreed to work closely towards addressing all areas of migration.

Scores of Africans, including Nigerians struggle on daily basis to reach Europe even through deadly part, the Mediterranean sea.

The agreement was reached at the 7th Nigeria- EU Ministerial Dialogue which held virtually in Abuja and Brussels, on 18th November, 2020.

Nigeria minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama co-chaired the meeting with H.E. Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission.

Onyeama disclosed that the meeting was “Very productive engagement on further strengthening our partnerships & cooperation in all priority areas & we look forward to further strengthening our partnerships with the EU in areas of immigration, border management,the fight against human trafficking, security, agriculture etc. We assure you of our very strong commitment to what we have discussed and developing together a roadmap going forward, identifying clear deliverables and working hard with you to achieve all of them.”

A communique issued at the end of the meeting on the vex issue stated, “Both Sides acknowledge their common interest to work closely together towards addressing mobility and all aspects of migration, building on the Common Agenda for Migration and Mobility (CAMM). They noted the importance of a comprehensive approach to migration, which aims at ensuring mutual benefit for countries of origin and destination as well as the migrants alike, avoiding loss of life, protecting the human rights of migrants, and providing international protection to those who need it. The EU’s proposed new Pact on Migration and Asylum aims at providing a reinforced basis to achieve this overarching objective, fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with countries of origin, transit and destination.

“Both Sides intend to restart the dialogue on migration and mobility, as an integral part of a comprehensive, balanced and mutually beneficial partnership. They intend to actively cooperate in all aspects of migration management and in addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement, in line with the principles set out in the Joint Valetta Action Plan through fostering job creation, reforms, and investments; stem irregular migration through enhanced cooperation on integrated border management; increase collaborative efforts to fight migrants smuggling and trafficking in human beings; and use of legal migration pathways, as well as promote the facilitation of remittances; granting assistance to refugees and internally displaced people; strengthen cooperation to ensure effective return and readmission; and finalise negotiations on a readmission agreement, as soon as possible. Both Sides intend to continue cooperation in the context of the Rabat process.

“Both Sides recognize that Nigeria, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment, has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the EU on labour migration, particularly, Nigeria has greatly benefited from the EU-IOM initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration being implemented within the framework of the European Union Trust Fund Project for Africa which was launched in July, 2017. Recall that the world of work is changing and labour mobility is now part of an increasing dynamic in a globalized world, as more jobseekers are looking beyond national borders for employment and livelihood opportunities and as noted by ILO “Migration today is for work”. Nigeria proposes more collaboration in the following areas: Establishment of additional Job Centre’s and Migrant Resource Centres in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), apart from the six existing in the Six Geo-political Zones of the Country. Same with the Migrant Resource Centres which currently exist only in Abuja, Lagos and Edo states and which provides the platform for job seekers and potential migrants as well as returnees. Nigeria also proposes that these be strengthened with both Technical Assistance, Logistics and capacity of government officials on data collection and analysis through sustained financial support, leveraging on the activities of the International Labour Migration Desk (ILMD) and National Electronic Exchange in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, for monitoring of the International Recruitment Agencies to promote regular migrations and decent jobs for Nigerians.”

Also, both sides agreed to continue holding a regular/annual ministerial dialogue to take stock of agreed priorities and deliverables.

Both sides also reiterated their full commitment to maintaining their constructive dialogue and cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect, openness, and a commitment to promoting human rights, democracy, the rule of law and transparency, and with a view to tackling bilateral, regional and global challenges in the mutual interest of Nigeria and the EU.

Both Sides intend to hold the next Ministerial Dialogue before the end of 2021.

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