Federal Government of Nigeria implements best interest procedures for migrants in vulnerable situations.

Participants during a practical demonstration on protecting migrants. Photo: IOM 2023.

Port Harcourt –The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA), convened a four-day Training of Trainers between March 22 and 25, 2023, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The ToT was aimed at building stakeholders’ capacity for the implementation of the Best Interest Procedure (BIP) guidelines.

The training was also organized to provide the requisite knowledge and skills needed by front line service providers to implement best interests’ procedures (BIP) in a formal, consistent, and harmonized process.

‘’The training of trainers on the implementation of the BIP guidelines will strengthen the essential knowledge, attitudes, and skills of the Ministry’s social service delivery system to respond to the protection needs of vulnerable migrants in Nigeria in a standardized manner." Mr. Benjamin Okwesa, Deputy Director, Gender, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, said

The training had participants from government agencies, civil society organizations, academia, and the medical field in attendance. Subsequently, the trained participants will cascade the training to front-line service providers in the states of high-return in Nigeria, including Edo, Delta, and Kano. The FMWA will also advocate for the adoption of the BIP guidelines by the requisite state actors in the high-return states.

The BIP guidelines safeguard the protection needs of vulnerable migrants in Nigeria. They are a primary consideration when rendering services and making decisions affecting migrants who are incapable of discernment. It ensures no further harm is done to the vulnerable migrant, and every identified solution is in their best interest.  The guidelines were jointly developed by IOM and its partners and validated on February 9, 2023.

"Migrants in vulnerable situations are particularly susceptible to abuse, exploitation, neglect, and other forms of harm. Therefore, it is necessary to identify established safeguards and procedures in Nigeria’s protection system to comprehensively address their protection needs", said Ms. Ruth Mbugua, Migrant Protection and Assistance Officer, IOM Nigeria.

The guidelines target migrants in situations of vulnerability resulting from their mental, physical, or physiological health conditions. These include unaccompanied and separated migrant children (UASC) and vulnerable adult migrants incapable of making their own decisions, such as persons with disabilities, persons with special needs, victims of trafficking, and older persons. They may be internally displaced persons, returned migrants, or foreign nationals identified within Nigeria.

Since April 2017, IOM has assisted over 9,000 vulnerable migrants to return to Nigeria from Libya and other transit and destination countries. Upon arrival, they are provided with services like non-food items, basic childcare support, referrals to clinics and shelters, medical support, psychosocial counseling, and vocational training. The BIP guidelines build on this support to ensure vulnerable migrants are better protected.

The Best Interest Procedures were developed with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as part of the Cooperation on Migration and Partnership for a Sustainable Solution (COMPASS).


For more information, please contact:

At IOM Nigeria:

Elijah Elaigwu, Tel: +2349070071480, Email:


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