After many years in abeyance, Nigeria and the Netherlands yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on migration matters.
The signing ceremony, took place in Netherlands, with Ambassador Aminu Wali signing for Nigeria, while the Minister of Migration Fred Teeven signed for Netherlands.
In his speech, Wali said the objective of the MoU was to improve cooperation between the two countries, with the aim of better implementation of provisions relating to migration of persons and guarantee of their fundamental rights in conformity with international norms and best practices.
“The MoU deals with cooperation in combating irregular migration, human trafficking, readmission and reintegration of returnees, return assistance, document fraud detection, capacity building, identification and repatriation
“We are therefore pleased to sign the MoU with the hope that it will guarantee the fundamental human rights of our people and also create new areas of cooperation to further strengthen our relations.
“There is no doubt that migration and development play a big role in our bilateral relations in view of the large number of Nigerians in Diaspora working in the Netherlands and vice versa.
“This should be encouraged as a win-win situation for both countries of origin and destination” Wali said.
He thanked the government of Netherlands for the support and assistance it rendered to the Nigeria Immigration Service, NAPTIP, and other agencies in combating irregular migration and trafficking in persons.
Netherlands’ Minister of Migration, Fred Teeven said government of Netherlands saw the signing of the MoU on migration matters as a welcome development.
“This is a field that affects both countries and therefore of mutual concern. The fight against illegal immigration is important for several reasons. First and foremost to prevent human tragedies that can occur when people risk their lives investing in an uncertain future in an unknown country.
“We know of the obvious risks involved with illegal border crossings, orchestrated by traffickers. But unfortunately we also know of too many examples of illegal migrants that are exposed to dangers living as illegally residing citizens in the countries of destination in Europe or elsewhere.
“In this shadowy world, illegal immigrants fall victims to traffickers for the exploitation for black market labour, prostitution or other purposes that serve no other goal than to make money out of the misery of a vulnerable group of people,” Teeven said
He stressed the importance of the fight against illegal immigration, adding that members of the public must support the fight against the scourge.
He said a fair migration policy could be viable, if migration based on rules and regulation is effectively managed.
According to him, it included the return of persons who are not allowed to reside in the two countries legally.
Teeven noted that to fight illegal immigration effectively, it requires good cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination alike, including exchange of information between public authorities.
In this wise, he added that over years, Nigeria and the Netherlands had been partners.
“Time and time again, we have been able to prove that we have the will and ability to find collective solutions to mutual challenges.
“This has resulted in many achievements over the years. I very much appreciate this good cooperation. But I don’t take it for granted. That is why I so much value and honour your presence here today.
“In signing this MoU we aim not only to even further improve the quality of our cooperation, but also to deepen our commitment to the goal of fighting illegal immigration.
“I will make sure that my services and I will do everything we can to continue our cooperation with Nigeria in good spirits and full respect” the minister emphasised.