President Muhammadu Buhari has told the visiting German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel that his administration does not encourage illegal migration and any Nigerian leaving the country illegally is taking a risk.
Merkel is on her lap of her three-day trip to West Africa countries–Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria– with a focus on strengthening economic development and containing illegal migration.
Her visit comes two days after the British Prime Minister, Mr. Theresa May, made a similar trip to Nigeria to cement economic cooperation between Nigeria and Britain.
Addressing the press President Buhari, who welcomed the German Chancellor at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa, Abuja introduced some members of his cabinet and presidential aides to her before going into closed door meeting to deliberate on issues of mutual interest to both countries.
At the end of the closed door meeting, both leaders addressed the press briefly.
Addressing Merkel at the presidential Villa Abuja on Friday, Buhari said any Nigerian repatriated from Libya or elsewhere while attempting to migrate to Europe would be sent back to their local government.
“I guess many of my country men and women illegally struggle to find their way to European countries through the deserts and the Mediterranean because they feel there are greener pastures there whether they are prepared for it or not. As an administration, we are not in support of it.
“About three weeks ago, we repatriated 3,000 Nigerians from Libya. They want to travel to Europe illegally. We do not support this and anybody caught is at his or her own risk.
“Any Nigerian found in Libya or anywhere on his way to Europe through illegal means will be brought home and we will send him back to the local government,” said the president.
For her part, Merkel tasked impressed on the president the need to ensure free, credible and fair election 2019.
“I appeal that the fourth coming elections in Nigeria should be free, fair and credible. It should not result to chaos or complete breakdown of law and order. A credible election is an important aspect of democracy and good governance,” she said.
She also said she was aware of Nigeria’s security challenges.
“We are aware of it and that is why we are co-hosting the great Chad conference with Nigeria to address these issues,” she said.
Besides, Merkel said plans were afoot to increase the number of Nigerians studying in Germany.
“About 1200 Nigerian students are studying in my country; we are making plans to increase that number.”
Thereafter, she said German firm could help Nigeria diversify its energy source to bio-waste and wind.
“There is one project that hasn’t been finished yet; it is about the sugar plant, where we are trying to be able to switch energy production from electric supplies to bio-waste. We could open up new sources; we have entrepreneurs in our delegations that can make offers in the field of wind energy. What is important for us is that we have efficient in transmission systems.
“There is one company that I told the president about and we are happy that we are able to examine the context that identifies leakages in the pipelines.
“We are operating in a great number of areas with the Nigerian side especially with the field of energy. Germany is more than happy and even more than ready to work with Nigeria in this regard,” she said.