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Nigeria, Switzerland partner to assist deportees

02 February 2013, 10:00

Abuja - The government of Switzerland has pledged to partner the Federal Government to assist Nigerians deported from Switzerland.

Ms Simonetta Sommaruga Federal Councillor of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police, made the pledge in Abuja on Friday when she paid a courtesy visit to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She said that more than 180 illegal Nigerian immigrants were deported from Switzerland in 2012.

The Swiss federal councillor added that the 180 were, however, granted some "return help" to assist them.

She noted that more than 900 other illegal immigrants had yet to leave that country.

"Another 2 700 asylum seekers came to our country last year but none of them have been granted asylum because they had no genuine reasons to become refugees in

"The asylum requests were turned down because there were no genuine reasons for the asylum.

"However, the more than 180 Nigerians who left our country got return help to come back so they could have something to fall back on."

Sommaruga said that the migration partnership Switzerland shared with Nigeria would enable the Swiss Government to assist Nigeria in the areas of drug, human trafficking and terrorism.

Receiving the Federal Councillor, the Minister of State I, Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, said that skills acquisition centres would be set up by the government to assist the deportees.

Onwuliri said that the centres would encourage Nigerians living illegally in other countries to return, noting that the measure would also save the image of the country.

"It is a wonderful sign that Switzerland sent its justice and police minister to Nigeria and a lot is coming up to strengthen relations between the two countries.

"Talking about the issue of migration and deportation, a lot is being put in place so that it does not continue to dent the image of Nigeria and spoil the relationship between both countries.

"The issue of training for returnees is being taken seriously, it is not just to deport people but for them to know that when they return, they can be gainfully engaged," she said.

The minister urged the Swiss Government to treat seriously the death of Nigerian immigrants under Swiss police custody, calling for full investigation into outstanding cases.

The UN Refugee Agency Report 2011, stated that some 10 500 Nigerians sought asylum in industrialised countries in 2011.

According to the report, Nigerians filed 1 303 applications for asylum in Switzerland.

- NAN

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