Switzerland and Nigeria sign agreement on migration partnership

Press Release, FDJP, 14.02.2011

Bern. Switzerland and Nigeria signed an agreement today establishing a migration partnership. The agreement was signed when Nigeria's foreign minister, Henry Odein Ajumogobia, officially met with the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, Simonetta Sommaruga. The meeting was followed by a working lunch with Peter Maurer, the Swiss state secretary for foreign affairs, and a courtesy visit to Micheline Calmy-Rey, the current president of the Confederation and head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Nigeria's foreign minister, Henry Odein Ajumogobia, was on an official visit to Switzerland today. This visit was chiefly about cooperation between Switzerland and Nigeria in matters of migration, and Switzerland and Nigeria signed an agreement establishing a migration partnership. A declaration of intent concluded in Bern on November 5, 2010, preceded the signing of the agreement. Details of the agreement had been under discussion since the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Micheline Calmy-Rey, visited Abuja, Nigeria, in April 2009. The agreement signed today governs a range of areas of cooperation, from building up the capacity of immigration, migration and development services, to the promotion and protection of human rights. Further areas of cooperation include: legal migration and joint programs on training and further education; return assistance; readmission and reintegration assistance; the prevention of illegal migration; fighting human trafficking and drug trafficking.

This pioneering agreement on migration affairs is the first of its kind Switzerland has concluded with an African state. It paves the way to strengthening cooperation between the two states. Both Switzerland and Nigeria seek long-term cooperation to the mutual benefit of both countries. What is more, the agreement reflects a comprehensive and global approach to dealing with matters of migration, acknowledging all of its attendant problems and opportunities.

Switzerland and Nigeria are committed to establishing this partnership by planning and carrying out joint projects addressing the manifold aspects of migration. Moreover, the agreement provides for periodic expert meetings for discussing migration issues. The first meeting is scheduled to be held in Abuja at the end of March 2011.

Over a working lunch with Peter Maurer, the Swiss state secretary for foreign affairs, and later again when meeting with the president of the Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Nigerian foreign minister broached further subjects of topical interest to both states. Issues discussed included strengthening ties between Switzerland and Nigeria, stepping up trade and investment, confiscating and recovering illicit assets, furthering peace in Sub-Saharan Africa, promoting security in the Sahara and Sahel zones, and a series of multilateral topics. What is more, Switzerland and Nigeria confirmed their intention of addressing human rights’ issues and maintaining a constructive dialog on this topic. A first meeting is scheduled the take place in Abuja in February 2011.

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