By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) has received 36 Nigerian migrants including children deported from Sweden.
The Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Alhaji Tijani Ahmed, said during the returnees profiling that usually the deportees must have been contacted either on the account that they overstayed in their host country or expired VISA.
Ahmed, who was represented by Amb. Catherine Udida, the Director Migration Affairs in the Commission, said on Wednesday that the government of Sweden must have reminded the returnees of their irregular status.
He explained that Swedish authority must have given them two or three trials of opportunities for them to return of which they failed.
“They will have no option than to start processing their deportation because it is different from coming back voluntary.”
Ahmed also said that after profiling the returnees, they would be provided with accommodation, dignity kits and some stipends.
“We have profiled them, identified the vulnerable ones among them; in addition we are taking them to a hotel, trying to understand what the real issues are, and then follow up with referrals.
“Ordinarily, if they had come voluntarily, usually there is livelihood support scheme that is provided, so you go for training and you’re given some stipends for start ups.
“Because they were deported the onus is on us the government to make their lives as comfortable as possible,” Ahmed added.
He said that sometimes the government would keep the returnees for up to a year, saying that whether they were deported or not, the commission would ensure that they were taking care of properly.
He, therefore, assured the returnees that no mater the circumstances that brought them back, `Nigeria would continue to be their country and that there were too many opportunities for them to utilise.’
Mr Roland Nwoha, the Country Director, International Returns and Reintegration Assistance (IRARA) explained that the returnees were Nigerians who had immigration issues and were asked to leave Sweden.
Nwoha said that different countries have different laws, saying that some countries expected that any of their legal documents should be renewed before it expired, but some migrants were ignorant of it.
“But what they don’t understand is that you don’t wait until your documents expire before you renew it.
“And for us at IRARA, our duty is to support these Nigerians, help them get a safe landing. It’s likely many of them were brought back from detention centres, while some were picked up from the streets.
“We imagine that coming back will be difficult, so what we are doing is to provide them with arrival assistance, cash support, toiletries and a place to pass the night before they travel to their final destinations.
“Most importantly, we want to set up an income generating activity to welcome them back in a dignified way,” Nwoha said.
He said that the returnees were given N158,000 each including the children.
One of the deportees said he was undergoing treatment in a hospital before he was deported.
“I thought they were taking me to another hospital before I knew it, I found myself in Abuja although I was also in Sweden to seek asylum.”
Another returnee said she was married to a Swede and was in the process of regularising her documents before she was picked from her house.
“I’m not even well and I don’t have any relation here in Nigeria, all my family members are in UK,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that among the returnees were seven families. (NAN)(www.nannews.com.ng)
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi