The countries of European Union (EU) have in a move that indicates tougher immigration policy, deported not fewer than 43 Nigerians on Thursday night.
The bulk of the deportees who arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA), Lagos at about 8.40 p.m., came from Italy (33), Germany and Belgium.
European countries, overshadowed by the heated debate over the merits and demerits of United States (US) President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, have deported more African migrants than their north Atlantic neighbours.
Only last week, United Kingdom (UK) sent packing 82 West Africans, mostly from Ghana and Nigeria.
The latest deportees, who are all male, were said to have committed once criminal offence or the other mirroring Trump’s immigration policy.
The Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Muhammad Sani-Sidi, confirmed the arrival of Nigerians, who were brought back with a chartered Hifly aircraft with registration number CS-TQW, amidst tight security.
“About 33 of the deportees are from Italy, while the other seven and another three were deported from Germany and Belgium, respectively,” he said.
Sidi who was represented by the Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, NEMA, Dr. Onimode Bandele, said that they were at the airport together with other sister agencies to receive the deportees.
Other agencies at the airport include officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“They were deported for committing various offences in their host countries and as you can see; our agencies are here to do the needful. As a responsible government, we cannot just leave our citizens to enter the country without giving them a good welcome and assisting them to get back to their families,” he said.
Speaking further, Sidi advised Nigerians to stay in the country and develop it together.
He said some stipends would be given to the deportees to facilitate their transportation to their various destinations.
Migrants all over the world, especially Africans are facing harder times because of rise of nationalism and populist movements across Western countries pushing their government to adopt more aggressive immigration policies. Apart from European Nigerian migrants were recently deported from Libya and Cameroon in addition to xenophobic attacks in South Africa.