Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said government under his watch is against illegal migration and that those involved do so at their risk.
Buhari said this in Abuja when he received German Chancellor Angela Merkel who concluded her 3-day tour to West African countries
Her tour is focused on strengthening economic development and containing illegal migration.
The president assured Merkel of his administration’s stance against citizens going through the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea to seek greener pastures.
“Firstly I’m against those my country men and women that illegally travel to Europe. I believe you know the ECOWAS protocol encourages free movement of persons, goods and services,” Buhari said.
“For those going to Europe, we are not as an administration agreeing with those who continue to defy the Sahara dessert and the Mediterranean because they feel there are greener pastures there, whether they are prepared for it or not. We do not support anything illegal and indiscipline,”
“We have made it very clear that we do not support anything illegal and anybody who feels this country does not offer him what he should to be offered as a citizen and decide to defy the desert and the Mediterranean is doing it at his own risk,”
“But if he is stuck somewhere in Libya between his final destination and Nigeria, we will rescue him and bring him back home and send him back to his local government.”
Buhari added that over 3,000 illegal migrants stranded in Libya had been repatriated to the country. He said those who get stuck in the journey would be sent to their local government areas.
Responding, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Nigeria as a very important country in Africa, hence the need to maintain a cordial relationship.
She commended Nigeria’s success in producing food that is needed in the country which necessitated the important cooperation in agriculture as well as manufacturing Volkswagen cars in Nigeria.
Merkel also advised the president on addressing the problems of migration by providing jobs.
She disclosed that 12,000 Nigerians were studying in Germany through scholarships which the government intends increasing.
Merkel also charged Buhari on ensuring credible, free and fair elections in the 2019 polls.