By Folarin Emmanuel, Abuja
Bukola Saraki, Senate President has said that Nigeria is ready to work closely with the European Union in tackling the rising incidence of illegal migration and mobility from the country to Europe through dangerous routes.
According to a statement by Sanni Onogu, his Chief Press Secretary, Saraki,gave the pledge when an EU delegation comprising representatives from United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and other European countries visited him in Abuja.
He stated that the National Assembly will collaborate with the Executive to ensure that all pending agreements between Nigeria and European countries on issues of migration and mobility are resolved and signed by both parties as a direct means of preventing illegal migration from the sub-region to Europe.
The Senate, he said, has commenced the enactment of legislations that would foster better economic conditions in the country as a way of discouraging illegal migration.
Saraki said: “We need to begin to see how best the two continents can work very closely together to solve this challenge. How best we address the issue of migration will define the future of our two continents and I want to say that the Senate and the National Assembly, we are very keen to see whatever we can do to support and facilitate bringing solutions to it.
“Just last week there was a motion on the floor of the Senate and we have set up a Committee to investigate the unfortunate incident of the 26 women that died recently as they tried to migrate to Europe.
“These are issues that I think we all have the responsibility as elected members of parliament to see that we really put an end to them. The level of criminality and criminal gangs that are now building up and seeing this as a commercial activity is very scary and I think it is an alarm we must sit down to find lasting solutions to.
“What I can assure you on our part, is that we are committed to begin to address some of the issues. For instance, for a long time there are some agreements that are outstanding that we have not been able to conclude. We need to address this.”
Earlier, Christian Leffler, the leader of the EU delegation, said the group was in the country to meet with the Executive and the leaders of the National Assembly on how they can jointly formulate a plan of action to tackling rising illegal migration into Europe.
He said that the visit was also in recognition of Nigeria’s position in the West African subregion in particular and Africa in general.
He said the EU is ready to work with Nigeria to tackle social and economic challenges that predisposes citizens to seeking better livelihoods outside the country.
Leffler said: “We are here to tangibly illustrate how closely we work together to set out a common agenda to which we then bring to bare the experiences and the capacities that all of us can contribute for the shared goals of strengthening our engagements with you and other partners on this issue and some others.
“We have had fruitful discussion this morning in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are pleased with this as an expression also of the engagement from the Nigerian side to see how we can make progress on all the different dimensions of the complex issues that surround the phenomenon of migration.”