ABUJA – The Swiss Federal Office of Migration (FOM) says a total of 544 Nigerian nationals previously living in Switzerland returned home in 2013 under its Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme (VRRP).
This is contained in a statement issued by the FOM at the end the 5th Meeting of the Technical Committee for the Swiss-Nigerian migration partnership on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to the statement, Nigeria is the third main country of origin for asylum seekers in Switzerland in 2013 with 1,764 asylum applications.
“The number of asylum applications from Nigerian nationals fell by 35.8 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year,’’ the statement read.
On the number of Nigerians who voluntarily left the country, the FOM noted that in 2012 it supervised the departure of 441 Nigerians from the country.
Nigeria’s delegation to the meeting was led by Amb. Abdulaziz Dankano, the under-secretary in charge of Economy and Consular, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dankano expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far since the last meeting of the Nigerian-Swiss migration partnership in June 2013 in Berne.
“We have noticed a lot of improvements; a lot of records have been set and a lot of achievements recorded under this partnership,’’ Dankano said without mentioning specifics.
He said that the achievements had led to increase in the number of voluntary return of Nigerians in Switzerland in “a dignified manner.’’
He said that the returnees would have something to fall back on upon their return to Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria was committed to reducing irregular migration of its nationals to Switzerland through the existing agreement with the country.
Dankano expressed delight that there was a drop in the number of asylum applications from Nigerian nationals in Switzerland.
NAN reports that the Swiss delegation in Abuja was jointly led by FOM Director, Mario Gattiker and the head of the Human Security Division, Amb. Claude Wild.
Gattiker lauded the multilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Switzerland on migration and development issues.
He recalled that at the second High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held in New York in October 2013, Nigeria and Switzerland co-chaired an official roundtable discussion on coherence and partnerships in the area of international migration.
Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga co-chaired the discussion. (NAN)