Nigeria has again faulted claims that there were 30,000 of its citizens who are irregular migrants in Germany awaiting repatriation.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, said the figure was unrealistic against the background that there’re only 32,000 Nigerians legally resident in the country.
“So how could there be 30,000 Nigerians irregularly living in the country?” he asked, during a recent meeting with a delegation of the Edo Community of Nigeria, Germany e.V. “My position is that it’s a lie. So, we do not accept that figure.”
The ambassador assured, during the meeting which took place in Berlin on 16 August, that the Embassy would not collaborate with anybody to carry out any unjustified deportations. He called on Nigerians to dismiss rumours making the rounds that the Embassy was colluding with the German authorities. “We will not support any efforts to remove any Nigerians unjustifiably,” he assured.
It was the second time that Alhaji Tuggar would openly cast doubt on the figure of 30,000 Nigerians awaiting deportation often cited by the German authorities. In an interview with the Nigerian News Agency, NAN, last year, the diplomat had also raised objection to the figure.
Tuggar said most of those who claimed to be Nigerians in Germany were not genuine, stressing that it was easy for other African nationals to claim to be citizens of Nigeria.
The foreign policy adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dr Jan Hecker, had on 15 May 2018, told the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Geoffrey Onyeama, during a visit to Abuja that Germany had proposed a new process that would facilitate the smooth repatriation of over 30,000 irregular Nigerian migrants.
On 10 August, pro-refugee activists gathered in the eastern German city of Gotha to protest against what they described as the planned deportation of 30,000 Nigerians. Nine days later (19 August), 20 Nigerians were repatriated to Lagos.