Over 1,000 Stranded Nigerian Migrants supported as part of the Joint IOM – The Netherlands Initiative

H.E. Mr. Eric van der Burg, Minister for Migration at the Ministry of Justice and Security of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, engaging with returned migrants from Niger on their Migration journey.©IOM2024/ Taghwo Ovie

Lagos – More than 1,000 Nigerians have received support from the Nigerian authorities in the framework of the protection and reintegration actions undertaken as part of the initiative called Cooperation on Migration and Partnership for Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS), implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

Launched in April 2021, COMPASS is a global initiative designed to uphold the rights of migrants, while facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration. Designed to protect people on the move, the actions undertaken in Nigeria have enabled the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish and activate three State Taskforces to combat trafficking in persons. The actions also looked at the framework and policy approach to migration governance in Nigeria, by co-organizing with the Government a National Voluntary Migration Review of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Following this overall migration policy review, the Government collaborated with IOM and various actors to finalize the Best Interest Procedure Guidelines for Migrants unable to Make Decisions for Themselves. This specific approach, together with the review of the migration policies positively impacted all actors involved in migration governance in the country, to ensure the best interest of migrants, women and children.

“We are proud to celebrate this milestone with our partner, The Netherlands, which has so far provided a lifeline of support to thousands of vulnerable Nigerians”, said Laurent de Boeck, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission. “We will continue to advocate and take actions for safe migration. We are proud to be associated to the most relevant actors in Nigeria keen to make migration safer for all, by developing regular pathways, while continuing combating irregular migration and trafficking in persons”, he added.

Marking these milestones in Nigeria, H.E. Mr. Eric van der Burg, Minister for Migration at the Ministry of Justice and Security of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Peter Schuurman, Special Envoy for Migration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducted a two-day visit to Nigeria during which they participated in the arrival of a charter flight from Niger with 148 Nigerians, including 79 women and 69 men.

The visit of the Minister to Nigeria is a testament to the strong migration partnership between Nigeria and the Netherlands, based on mutual priorities including awareness raising for safe migration, collaborative efforts to address root causes of irregular migration, and a shared commitment to sustainable reintegration and opportunities for young Nigerians.

Thank you for allowing us to be part of this post-arrival process, which helps us gain insight into these processes and the hard work of the Nigerian authorities on ground and the experiences of the returning migrants”, said H.E. Mr. Eric van der Burg, Minister for Migration at the Ministry of Justice and Security of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

It is essential to provide individual support for the wellbeing of many Nigerians who continue to experience distress upon return. The feeling of shame and failure, associated with the stigmatization by the community, is not conducive for an efficient and dignified reintegration. To address this situation, IOM has created a network of partners with the Government and the civil society, including many Migrants as Messengers volunteers who serve as mentors for returnees in the community.

I am so impressed with the young migrants who are willing to step up and share their experiences with other young Nigerians, to ensure that they are aware of the risks of irregular migration and how to best inform and protect themselves. The Netherlands is proud to support these efforts through migration programming such as COMPASS and Migrants as Messengers”, the Minister added.

“Through the COMPASS Initiative, IOM has supported the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and our objective to coordinate the implementation of the national migration governance frameworks, with a strong mechanism for synergies and efficiency of the five Thematic Working Groups and the Technical Working Group on Migration and Development”, said the Honourable Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons. “The initiative has also strengthened the capacity of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the Civil Society involved in the sustainable reintegration of every Nigerian returning home.”

As part of the COMPASS Initiative, IOM has facilitated the dignified return of 1,013 Nigerians stranded in Mali, Lebanon, Morocco, Dubai, Libya and Niger. About 110 returning migrants have received mental and psychosocial support through one-on-one counselling and psychosocial group session. Over 600 victims of trafficking received the necessary attention for their protection, while 19 unaccompanied migrant children were reconnected with their families. In addition, over 3,500 persons have been reached with key information on safe migration pathways through community-based awareness raising campaigns.


Notes to editors:

For more information on COMPASS, please visit

The COMPASS project in Nigeria is complimented by funding from the European Union.




For further information, please contact:
Snr. Communication Assistant- Elijah Elaigwu, , +2347037998411

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