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Nigeria's Ambassador to Germany, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday (23 May) / Photo: NAN

No 30,000 illegal Nigerian migrants in Germany, says Ambassador

Nigeria has faulted claims that there were 30,000 of its citizens as illegal migrants in Germany who are awaiting repatriation.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, said on Wednesday that Nigeria disputes the figure.

“To begin with, we dispute that figure of 30,000. That is not the case. We do not have up to 30,000 Nigerian asylum seekers in Germany,” Tuggar, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The foreign policy adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dr Jan Hecker, had on 15 May, told the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Geoffrey Onyeama, that Germany had proposed a new process that would facilitate the smooth repatriation of over 30,000 illegal Nigerian migrants.

Ambassador Tuggar said that most of those who claimed to be Nigerians in Germany were not genuine, stressing that it is easy for other African nationals to claim to be citizens of Nigeria / Photo: NAN

 

Tuggar said that most of those who claimed to be Nigerians in Germany were not genuine, stressing that it is easy for other African nationals to claim to be citizens of Nigeria.

“We have a lot of walk-ins in the embassy, people coming in and say I am tired I want to go home, help me out, issue me an emergency travel certificate and we do immediately and they go back.

“But we have to be careful there as well because there is a tendency to just think that x numbers of Nigerians in Germany are illegal.

“You will find out that a lot of the people that are purported to be Nigerians are not even Nigerians.”

“You will find out that a lot of the people that are purported to be Nigerians are not even Nigerians.”



“We interview them and I have personally participated in interviews of asylum seekers and you will find out that a lot of them come from other African countries,” he said.

According to him, what the world needs to realise also is that we Nigerians actually have a “shock absorber”; we take in a lot of migrants from other African countries.

“Some of them actually come here seeking for greener pastures. So it is not enough if you arrest someone on charges of being an irregular migrant or an illegal alien and you look at his phone and you see Nigerian phone numbers to just assume that he is a Nigerian that is not the case.

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“Like I said, I have participated in interviews and these are joint interviews between Nigeria as represented by the Embassy and the German authorities including the German Federal Police.

“And, you will find out that in a lot of the interviews you have non-Nigerians and they themselves admit to us their not being Nigerians after they talked to us,” he said

The envoy also explained that the mission does not issue emergency travel certificate to migrants who have medical conditions that make them unfit to travel.

He said that some of them have gotten married or have children with German citizens or are undergoing some sort of educational course or a vocational training.

“Now all these things that I have mentioned to you, if you were to issue an emergency travel certificate to such an individual and have him deported from Germany, you will be contravening German laws.

“These are not our laws to begin with. They have certain laws that preclude the deportation or expulsion of individuals that are undergoing treatment or have a particular ailment.

© NAN

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