Except something providential happens, over 12,000 Nigerians seeking asylum in Germany risk being deported next year.Germany’s Global Head of Programmes, Migration and Development, Dr. Ralf Sanftenberg, dropped the hint yesterday during a courtesy call on the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa in Abuja.
Sanftenberg, who led a delegation from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, was on a site assessment mission for assisted-voluntary returnees of Nigeria’s irregular migrants in his country.
The mission is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), which offers returnees support service and knowledge transfer.
“We have over 37,000 Nigerians in Germany and more than 12,000 of them are asylum seekers. There is a little chance for their applications to be moved and they may be forced to come back to Nigeria next year,” he stated.
According to the envoy, about 99 per cent of them are likely to be denied asylum status since Nigeria is not considered one of the war-ravaged countries.
Sanftenberg, however, noted that if they were willing to return home voluntarily, they would be assisted through a support programme organised by the German government.
A member of the delegation, who is a consultant to the programme, Stephanie Alofokhia-Ghogomu, urged the Nigerian asylum seekers to return home. Alofokhia-Ghogomu, who was also a voluntary returnee, said she had spent half of her life in Germany, adding that she had to return home to contribute to the development of Nigeria.
Dabiri-Erewa commended the German Chancellor, Angel Merkel for her professional handling of illegal migration in the country.“So, we will look forward to seeing what you want to do in terms of setting up German migrant services in Nigeria,” she added.
The presidential aide urged the affected Nigerians to return home and take advantage of the assistance being provided by the German government.“For Nigerians in Germany, who may wish to return, there is a better place for them at home to help them live a better live. Germany has the Ministry of Internal Affairs and budget for the returnees. And there are services that would be provided through the German government which they can enjoy,” Dabiri-Erewa stated.