Press Release —Local September 25, 2019

New Nigerian Border Strategy Aims to Enhance National Security and Ensure Protection of Migrants’ Rights

Abuja – On 19 September 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) presented the National Border Management Strategy and Action Plan in Abuja, Nigeria.

IOM supported the Government of Nigeria to develop the strategy and action plan to further boost NIS’ effectiveness and efficiency in the management of Nigeria’s borders, and address the changing realities and new challenges of migration in the country.

“This is a key milestone in IOM’s approach to strengthening the migration governance in Nigeria and providing reintegration assistance to Nigerian returnees,” said Ukamaka Osigwe, IOM Nigeria National Programme Officer. “The decision to review and renew a national border management strategy couldn’t have come at a better time as it shows the willingness and commitment of the government to respond to the current challenges relating to migration and border management at the national, regional and global levels in a strategic manner.”

As regards to assisted voluntary return and reintegration, the strategy focuses on establishing training for government officials on the rights and responsibilities of Nigerian returnees, as well as providing shelter to returnees and conducting sensitization campaigns on the dangers of irregular migration.

Additionally, the new strategy is designed to reinforce social harmony as well as ensure the protection of migrants’ human rights and the protection of vulnerable migrants, and gender mainstreaming. It also factors in the special needs of cross-border communities with common heritage and close family ties across national boundaries, and the special considerations of managing borders in certain areas with significant security challenges.

“A border is not a war zone, it is a place where law enforcement agents must respect human rights of migrants and victims of trafficking,” said Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service. “A safe border is a safe nation,” he added.

The forum brought together approximately 100 officials from relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government, non-state actors, and civil society organizations working on border management in Nigeria. Stakeholders also deliberated on current issues and challenges in the country as it relates to migration management.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is to have produced such a document for Nigeria, and I could not agree more with Comptroller General on the necessity to have a border strategy which is migration, trade, human rights and gender-oriented,” said Eleni Zerzelidou, EU Project Officer Migration and Drugs. “It is our expectation that the strategy becomes a live document for NIS and something for other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to draw inspiration from.”

The strategy was developed within the Policy and Governance component of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

 

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria: Tel: +234 803 645 2973, Email: jgalindo@iom.int.