A major centrepiece

A good bilateral cooperation in migration affairs between Nigeria and Switzerland has been ongoing for many years. It has been institutionalized by a Migration Partnership established between the two governments in February 2011, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is the focal agency for migration issues and works closely with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Human Security Division (HSD) and the Sub-Saharan Africa and Francophonie Division (SAFD) of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) as well as the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The main partners on the Nigerian side are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), as well as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The present cooperation includes, but is not limited to technical assistance in document fraud detection and data management, mutual study visits to enhance the cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, modern border management, support to reintegration of victims of human trafficking, cooperation in the field of vocational training and agriculture, awareness campaigns on the adverse effects of irregular migration. The SEM also supports the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the field of the return of irregular migrants to Nigeria, as well as partners like the Country Office in Nigeria of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and NGOs.

The Migration Partnership between Switzerland and Nigeria

Migration partnerships address the various challenges as well as opportunities of migration in a comprehensive manner and aim to achieve an equitable balance between the interests of Switzerland, its partner country and the migrants through an approach based on partnership. Migration partnerships are designed to last as long as they benefit both partner states. The content of a migration partnership varies from one partnership to another as it reflects the specific interests of the involved partners. So far, migration partnerships have been established, in addition to Nigeria, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Tunisia. Essential aspects of migration partnerships include projects and programs that have a specific bearing on questions related to immigration and emigration, such as:

  • Fight against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings
  • Return to home country and reintegration
  • Migration and development
  • Protection of refugees, internally displaced persons and vulnerable migrants
  • Regular migration (e.g. visa policy and basic and further training)

Nigeria was the first African country with which Switzerland established a migration partnership by signing a MoU in 2011. In order to further develop the cooperation between Switzerland and Nigeria and in order to coordinate and implement common projects, the MoU established a Joint Technical Committee (JTC), which is composed of high level representatives and technical experts from both countries. The JTC meets regularly on a yearly basis.