The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands have launched a programme, the Cooperation on Migration and Partnership to Achieve Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS), to tackle smuggling, human trafficking in Nigeria.
The project, sponsored by the government of The Netherlands, is a global initiative designed to protect migrants and victims of trafficking.
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The initiative also aims to support the dignified return of irregular migrants as well as promote sustainable reintegration.
Speaking at the event in Abuja on Tuesday, Ms Saskia Kok, IOM’s Programme Manager, explained that the scheme takes advantage of a social approach to assisting individuals, adding that it would work across all levels.
She said the project would be implemented simultaneously in 12 countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, and Tunisia.
According to her, the new programme is focused on returning irregular migrants and also reintegrating them into society.
She said that in the past four years, more than 21,000 migrants had been returned.
She said that most of the returnees had been exposed to violence, exploitation, and abuse and as such, “it is difficult to reintegrate them.”
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development Hajiya Umar Farouq commended the government of the Netherlands for sponsoring the project.
She assured of Nigeria’s commitment to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063, and key principles outlined in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.
She said that the government “is prepared to support policies, programmes, and initiatives that keep migrants’ rights, dignity, and protection at the centre” while strengthening cooperation for international migration.
“This is particularly important for Nigeria as a source, transit, and destination country for various migration routes,” she said.
The First Secretary, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Eva de Wit, expressed optimism that the project will carry everyone along to help curb irregular migration while protecting migrants.
Eva said that the project would also contribute to improving the knowledge of stakeholders in managing migration.
“We hope that the insights that would be gained from COMPASS would be able to contribute to further knowledge sharing to manage migration.
“We look forward to furthering collaboration with all of you and to see the impact of COMPASS in the next couple of years,” she said.