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  • Updated: March 24, 2021

Nigeria, Switzerland Inaugurate ‘Blue Bus’ Project To Control Irregular Migration

Nigeria, Switzerland Inaugurate ‘Blue Bus’ Project To Co

The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Switzerland Government have inaugurated a Blue Bus Project in commemoration of the countries 10th anniversary in migration partnership to control irregular migration in the country.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq at the inaugural ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja expressed pleasure on the uniqueness of the decade-long exemplary relationship between Nigeria and Switzerland on migration.

Farouq said that it was a celebration of success, stressing that there was no time in the history of the international relationship that the management of migration across international borders had been easy or free from numerous and diverse challenges.

She explained that the situation was even worse with the alarming increase in the volume, complexity, and threat in international migration.

Blue bus“Nevertheless, in spite of the difficulties in logistics and politics, the empirical record shows that with right policies and partnerships, migration can always bring about positive economic and development impact to both the destination and origin countries as well as migrants themselves.

“In all of this, the Nigeria/Switzerland bilateral partnership is outstanding and enjoys a unique kind of strategic relationship based on mutual trust and respect for each other.

“The partnership has over the years expanded to provide a number of laudable projects targeted towards better management of migration in Nigeria and mainstreaming migration into development.

“We look forward to a stronger partnership ahead in order to consolidate the successes so far made,” Farouq said.

According to report, Farouq was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Bashir Alkali.

Speaking, Ms. Karin Keller-Sutter, the Federal Councilor and Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, Switzerland, said she was pleased with the 10th-anniversary celebration.

Keller-Sutter said the migration partnership between Nigeria and her country was an ideal example of how bilateral relations could be used to address common challenges in a positive and dynamic way.

She maintained that Switzerland was determined to continue to foster the dialogue within the framework of the migration partnership and remained a close partner to Nigeria and Nigerians.

“I praise the resilience of the Nigerian people. Our relationship has become a cornerstone of trade and other profitable ventures.

” I am also impressed by the ongoing projects to support Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and I would be able to see some of the projects as we inaugurate the Blue Bus Project today.

“The Blue Bus Project is a good source of counseling and enlightenment on the dangers of illegal and irregular migration to people in all parts of the country. And this would help to control the surge,” Keller-Sutter said.

READ ALSO COVID-19: UN Says World Migration Slowed Down

Also, Ms. Prestage Murima, who represented the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) under the UN in Nigeria commended the efforts of both countries in tackling migration using evidence base strategy.

“Since 2001, IOM has been supporting the Nigerian Government on migration through technical assistance, capacity building, relief materials, and many others.

“The UN is committed to fighting against illegal migration and trafficking in persons. As a partner we shall continue to provide capacity building to Ministries, Departments, Agencies and supports returnees.

“The Blue Bus Project is a one-stop-shop for enlightenment and information sharing about migration and dangers of illegal migration,” Murima said.

Also speaking, Mr. Gabriel Aduda, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the migration partnership agreement between Nigeria and Switzerland was signed on February 14, 2011.

Aduda said the agreement was to partner against the smuggling of illicit drugs, migration, promotion of border control, reintegration of returnees and migrants, adding that both countries are on track.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Basheer Mohammed, The Federal Commissioner in charge of the Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, solicited support on desensitization of returnees.

Imaan Sulaiman,  Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) said the Agency had benefited from the relationship in terms of capacity building and relief for returnees.

She said the Green Bus Campaign would help in taking messages on migration to the grassroots.

“In the Green Bus, there is a provision for counseling, education and other services to ensure that the mentality of wanting to illegally migrate to other countries by Nigerians is addressed’.

Sulaiman was represented by Mr. Godwin Mouka, a senior officer from the Agency.

READ ALSO NIDCOM Calls For Partnership With ILO Over Irregular Migration

Similarly, the Director-General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Buba Marwa, represented by Mr. Shedrack Haruna solicited more support on intelligent gathering to succeed on their mandate.

Marwa restated the commitment of NDLEA to checkmate the activities of drug peddlers and destroy their cartels, adding that; “winning drug war is not negotiable”.

Also, the Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede represented by Comptroller Ngozi Akalonu, gave the assurance that the service would continue to fight against illegal migration.

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