The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Kingdom of Netherlands and Nigerian Government have initiated a new project tagged, Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships To Achieve Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS).
COMPASS is a global initiative designed to protect people on the move, combat human trafficking and smuggling and support dignified return and promote sustainable reintegration.
The initiative is centred on a whole-of-society approach, which, in addition to assisting individuals, would work across all levels including households, communities, and the wider communities and encompasses the following partner countries: Nigeria, Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.
Speaking at the Project Inception and Planning Meeting in Abuja, Ms Saskia Kok, Programme Manager, IOM, explained that with the support from the Government of Netherlands, IOM in collaboration with the Nigerian government would begin the implementation of the COMPASS project in Nigeria, intended to strengthening the capacity of state and non-state actors in Lagos, Edo and Delta States to provide sustainable reintegration support to returned migrants, including vulnerable groups.
While acknowledging giant strides made by Nigeria through the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other critical stakeholders, to strengthen service delivery to the victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups, she said, the gaps still remain.
According to her, “Despite these efforts, Nigeria remains a country of origin, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
“The recent outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 has further created an additional impact on irregular migration trends, with thousands of migrants still stranded in Libya, Niger, Mali as well as the Middle East, including Lebanon and Oman.”
She, however, noted that since 2017, a total of 21, 325 stranded Nigerians in Libya, Niger, Mali and European countries have been assisted to voluntarily return to Nigeria through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme.
Also speaking, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, reiterated the Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to the protection of the human rights of migrants and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Farouk represented by the Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Ali Grema, said: “Nigeria remains committed to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063, and key principles outlined in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
“This includes supporting policies, programmes and initiatives that keep migrant’s rights, dignity and protection at the centre, and strengthen cooperation of international migration, both at the regional and international levels.
“This is particularly important for Nigeria as a source, transit and destination country for various migration routes; Nigeria is also committed to upholding the human rights of migrants as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of human rights while also ensuring that the actions implemented in partnership with development actors consider the unique needs of Nigerian women, men, boys and girls, through whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.
She assured that Nigeria was working together with States, the international community and all critical stakeholders in ensuring better governance of all aspects of migration to harness its potentials for human and national development and curtailment of challenges.”
It would be recalled that COMPASS is funded by the Government of the Netherlands and implemented by IOM.
Its implementation is over a period of 36 months, as the overall objective of the project is to contribute to the protection and assistance of people on the move and reduce irregular migration trends.
Other target beneficiaries include victims of trafficking, smuggled migrants with identified protection needs, stranded migrants and vulnerable migrants in their communities. This new project is being implemented across 12 countries, including Nigeria.