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Again, Nigeria denies deportation of nationals from Germany

  • Nigerian deportees from Germany
 • Nigeria Embassy economical with deportation details 
• Pregnant deportee slumps as fiancé takes poison hearing her deportation
A number of  Nigerian migrants were yesterday ( February 26, 2020) deported by the Germany authorities.
The deportees said over  40 of them, each handcuffed and manned by four security men were  brought back in an EU chattered plane.
The plane landed few minutes past 4pm and flew back after refuelling as it is usually the practice.
Our crew (Voice for African Migrants, VAM)  and representatives of Refugee4Refugee, a political platform for refugees/migrants self-organisation based in Stuttgart, Germany, had waited at the cargo section  where the Nigerian authorities often ‘dump’ the deportees but to their chagrin the deportees were not dumped there this time around.
Instead of the cargo section, the deportees were ‘dumped’ in front of the Pilgrim and Cargo Terminal of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja.
An airport source said it was a deliberate plan by the authorities to keep the deportation secret and especially away from the prying eyes of  the media.
“They wanted to deny the deportation but from every indication, the plot has abysmally failed. I am yet to understand why the authorities would continue to be evasive on an issue like this.” the source said.
We, had exclusively reported that Germany  was going to deport the fourth batch of Nigerians yesterday. This might have formed part of the decision not to take them to the cargo gate.
Although a good number of the deportees had left before we and others became aware of where they were dumped, we were able to meet about five of them, some of  who had no means of calling their relations or going home.
Traumatised as they were, the deportees said no Nigerian government  official came to counsel or soothe their frayed nerves.
“All they did was to take our profiles. Some were even asking us for money. That was the height of their insensitivity to our plight,” one of the deportees said despondently.
A female deportee, who said she is six months pregnant after receiving a telephone call started crying and slumped. She was immediately assisted by other deportees.
“They told me that my fiancée took poison when he heard that I have been deported,” she said still sobbing.
Another female deportee, who did not want her name in print, said by the nature of health challenge that she has, the German authorities ought not to have deported her.
The stranded deportees relied on support from representatives of Refugee4Refugee to pay their ways back home. The organisation had also made hotel accommodation plans for deportees who might not have somewhere to stay.
Another embarrassing denial by Nigeria Immigration Service 
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) which officials attended to the deportees on arrival has once again surprisingly denied knowledge of the exercise.
The National Public Relations Officer of the service, Sunday James said he wasn’t aware of the deportation.
“Not to my knowledge,” he replied when asked if the service was aware of the deportation.
The spokesman of the service at the Murtala Airport, Edet, said: “Sorry I travelled. I am in in Uyo. I may not know exactly. I travelled,”
Nigerian Embassy economical with truth
Nigerian embassy in Germany was economical with the truth when asked about the deportation. The reponse placed side by side with that of immigration show that there is more than meets the eye about the deportations.
It also further confirms the deportees’ allegations that they are often don’t defend them before the Germans.
Speaking on the deportation, Nigeria’s envoy in  Germany, Peter Lambat, said:  “By our records, 33 Nigerians were scheduled for deportation on 26/2/20. However, recall my last explanation  the last time on variances that that could arise against the official  figures.”
Confirming our report that four deportation had so far taken place this year, the envoy said:   “Yes, there has been other exercises but of fewer persons since beginning of the year.”
Asked if by their records the deportation had not taken place since he said that the deportees were scheduled for deportation, he said:”I used the word because I do not know if the flight took place as scheduled.”
Since he is an envoy right there in Germany, Lambat was  asked to verify if the flight took, as the deportees were seen in Lagos yesterday.  The envoy was yet to respond as at the time of filling this report ( more than 10 hours after).
45 Nigerians were deported by Germany- Activist
Putting the records straight, the Coordination Activist of   Refugee4Refugee, a political platform for refugees/migrants self-organisation based in Stuttgart, Germany, Rex Osa, says a total of  45 Nigerians arrived yesterday Lagos from Germany. “From witnesses report, to each deportee was five police officers assigned. While some of the deported persons were taken into deportation custody a few days before the scheduled flight departure,  most of them were arrested the previous night from their sleeping beds and conveyed to the airport.
” There were only three  ladies amongst them. The 4th lady was released to go back home with her kids and husband before the flight departed MÜNCHEN Airport.
“By normal standard, no airline will transport a more than 6months old pregnant lady. On the other hand, this is a situation of Germany  separating families as usual. One of the deported was arrested  during an appointment to submit the doctor’s proof of his 5months old pregnant wife. Another one was arrested in the presence of his close to  three months old pregnant wife who is a German.”
Reacting to Nigeria Immigration Service’s claim about the deportation, Rex said: “That would mean that the German government is smuggling suspected Nigerians into the country. The  response from the ministry of interior on questions we had put forward through a German parliamentarian. We had requested to know the communication of deportation enforcement with the Nigerian govt. In their response, they claim that the Airport Authorities are informed about 4weeks in advance alongside communication through the foreign representation with the Nigerian foreign affairs’ ministry. Then, how come the immigration office is not notified. But there are always immigration officers who receive and profile them on arrival.”
Rex also frowned at NIgerian embassy’s failure to come clean on the deportation. He said: “Would this not mean a total disrespect for so-called diplomatic relations. Its also shameful to understand the whole power relations. That is if the embassy officials are telling the truth. After all they are actively involved in facilitating the deportation by issuing deportation  document at the request of the German deportation regime.
“How can the embassy identify and issue deportation papers for people out of suspicion by physical appearance otherwise accent in this civilisation. The German  bereaucracy can never allow that anywhere but they continue to impose and corrupt out government.”

READ  NIgeria flays insugents' attack on UN humanitarian helicopter

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Netherlands, IOM launch Global Migration Initiative to protect people on the move

COMPASS will provide vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children access to a broad range of protection and assistance services.

 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands launched the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions initiative (COMPASS) at the beginning of 2021. COMPASS is a global initiative, in partnership with 12 countries, designed to protect people on the move, combat human trafficking and smuggling, and support dignified return while promoting sustainable reintegration.

The initiative is centred on a whole-of-society approach which, in addition to assisting individuals, will work across all levels – households, communities, and the wider communities – and encompasses the following partner countries: Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

“We want to mobilize families, peers and communities to encourage informed and safe migration decisions, protect migrants, and help those returning home reintegrate successfully,” said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department of Migration Management at IOM.

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“One key component is also undermining the trafficking and smuggling business models through the promotion of safe alternatives and information sharing to reduce the risks of exploitation and abuse by these criminal networks.” Vulnerable migrants, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied or separated children, will have access to a broad range of protection and assistance services such as mental health and psychosocial support, while migrants in transit who wish to return home will be supported with dignified return and reintegration.

Community level interventions will focus on improving community-led efforts to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and support sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. COMPASS will work with national and local governments to enable a conducive environment for migrant protection, migration management and international cooperation on these issues.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to launch the COMPASS programme in cooperation with IOM, an important and longstanding partner on migration cooperation,” said Marriët Schuurman, Director for Stability and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

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“The programme is a part of the Dutch comprehensive approach to migration with activities that contribute to protection and decreasing irregular migration. Research and data gathering are also important components, and we hope that the insights that will be gained under COMPASS will contribute to broader knowledge sharing on migration and better-informed migration policies.”, added Schuurman. The initiative has a strong learning component, designed to increase knowledge and the uptake of lessons learned, both within the programme and beyond its parameters. COMPASS will actively contribute to global knowledge that supports countries in managing migration flows and protecting vulnerable migrants such as victims of trafficking. The implementation of COMPASS is set to start soon.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, as the donor to the COMPASS initiative, pledges its active support to partner countries to improve migration cooperation mechanisms within its long-term vision. 

IOM, the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, contributes its expertise as the technical implementation partner to the initiative. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners in its dedication to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. 

READ  650 Nigerians evacuated from Saudi Arabia in two days

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A child, 40 others drown in shipwreck off Tunisia

Photo: Mediterranean Sea

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Sidi Mansour, in southeast Tunisia, yesterday evening. The bodies of 41 people, including at least one child, have so far been retrieved.

According to reports from local UNHCR and IOM teams, three survivors were rescued by the Tunisian National Coast Guard. The search effort was still underway on Friday. Based on initial information, all those who perished were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

This tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to enhance and expand State-led search and rescue operations across the Central Mediterranean, where some 290 people have lost their lives so far this year. Solidarity across the region and support to national authorities in their efforts to prevent loss of life and prosecute smugglers and traffickers should be a priority.

Prior to yesterday’s incident, 39 refugees and migrants had perished off the coast near the Tunisian city of Sfax in early March. So far this year, sea departures from Tunisia to Europe have more than tripled compared to the same period in 2020.

READ  Danish boat in Aegean refused order to push back rescued migrants

UNHCR and IOM continue to monitor developments closely. They continue to stand ready to work with the national authorities to assist and support the survivors, and the family members of those lost.

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Ethiopian migrants return home from Yemen with IOM support in wake of tragic boat sinking

Yemen: Stranded Ethiopian migrants prepare to board an IOM-facilitated flight from Aden, Yemen, to fly home to Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM/Majed Mohammed 2021

One hundred and sixty Ethiopian migrants have returned home safely from Yemen today with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), just one day after a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden claimed the lives of dozens of people, including at least 16 children.

More than 32,000 migrants, predominantly from Ethiopia, remain stranded across Yemen in dire, often deadly, circumstances.

“The conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen has become so tragic that many feel they have no option but to rely on smugglers to return home,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Director for Operations and Emergencies.

At least 42 people returning from Yemen are believed to have died on Monday when their vessel sank off the coast of Djibouti. Last month, at least 20 people had also drowned on the same route according to survivors. IOM believes that, since May 2020, over 11,000 migrants have returned to the Horn of Africa on dangerous boat journeys, aided by unscrupulous smugglers.

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“Our Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme provides a lifeline for those stranded in a country now experiencing its seventh year of conflict and crisis. We call on all governments along the route to come together and support our efforts to allow migrants safe and dignified opportunities to travel home,” added Labovitz.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on global migration. The route from the Horn of Africa to Gulf countries has been particularly affected. Tens of thousands of migrants, hoping to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), now find themselves unable to complete their journeys, stranded across Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

While the pandemic has also caused the number of migrants arriving to Yemen to decrease from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020, the risks they face continue to rise. Many of these migrants are stranded in precarious situations, sleeping rough without shelter or access to services. Many others are in detention or being held by smugglers.

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“We cannot find jobs or food here; Yemen is a problem for us,” said Gamal, a 22-year-old migrant returning on the VHR flight. “I used to sleep in the street on cardboard. I could only eat because of the charity people would give me and sometimes we were given leftovers from restaurants. I never had much to eat.”

Since October 2020, in Aden alone, IOM has registered over 6,000 migrants who need support to safely return home. Today’s flight to Addis Ababa was the second transporting an initial group of 1,100 Ethiopians who have been approved for VHR to Ethiopia. Thousands of other undocumented migrants are waiting for their nationality to be verified and travel documents to be provided.

Prior to departure on the VHR flight, IOM carried out medical and protection screenings to ensure that returnees are fit to travel and are voluntarily consenting to return. Those with special needs are identified and receive specialized counselling and support.

In Ethiopia, IOM supports government-run COVID-19 quarantine facilities to accommodate the returnees on arrival and provides cash assistance, essential items and onward transportation to their homes. The Organization also supports family tracing for unaccompanied migrant children.

READ  Without safe migration, economic recovery will be limited

Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen, IOM provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food, water and other vital assistance.

Today’s flight was funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by EU Humanitarian Aid and PRM.

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