The Nigerian Government has launched a project to provide immediate Socio-Economic Relief to Vulnerable Migrant Returnees affected by COVID-19 in the northern region of the country.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq launched the project in Abuja stating that it was aimed at tackling emerging issues and challenges confronting the protection and livelihood of returnees and potential migrants in Nigeria.
The Minister noted that the measure will further mitigate the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the migrants especially the elderly, the chronically ill, people living with disabilities, women and child-headed households, unemployed youths and refugees.
“In line with our mandate to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of National and International humanitarian interventions, the Ministry embarked on resource mobilisation to adequately address the growing humanitarian needs. It is gratifying to note that the government of Switzerland graciously responded to support in providing immediate Socio-Economic Relief to vulnerable migrants impacted by COVID-19 in Northern Nigeria. The project is designed to complement actions funded under the UN COVID-19 Basket Fund by focusing on returned and potential migrants residing in northern Nigeria with beneficiaries drawn from Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Jigawa”.
“This context-specific project exemplifies our focus on the ’Leave No One Behind’ principle of the SDGs in carrying out humanitarian interventions. It is equally geared towards strengthening sustainable reintegration of returnees while discouraging irregular migration. I wish to assure you that working with the implementing organisation, IOM, the project will be effectively and efficiently implemented,” she explained.
Umar Farouq also thanked the Government of Switzerland for supporting the initiative and other activities that enhance the livelihood of the Persons of Concern in Nigeria, and the IOM, for entrenching better migration management in Nigeria.
“This indeed is an indication of your continued commitment towards our migration partnership. The Government of Nigeria further notes the significance of your ongoing partnership with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons,” the Minister added.
Earlier, the Ambassador to Switzerland in Nigeria Georg Steiner said Switzerland had committed some of its funding to support Nigerian agencies in the fight against the pandemic and its consequences.
Mr. Steiner who was represented by the Program Officer Migration, Embassy of Switzerland said the pandemic is the biggest crisis facing humanity, hence the international solidarity and cooperation to tackle the challenges.
“The health and economic consequences of the pandemic add to the difficult situation people face in areas affected by insecurity, political instability and economic hardship. These factors impact the management of migration movements and put further strain on government capabilities to provide for the vulnerable.
“Switzerland stands by Nigeria in these difficult times and swiftly mobilized financial resources to support the UN COVID 19 Basket Fund in Nigeria in June 2020.
“In the past 10 years, we have successfully implemented more than 50 projects in various areas. This particular project is another proof of the well-functioning migration partnership and the importance Switzerland attaches to Nigeria,” Mr. Steiner noted.
Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Jigawa are the beneficiaries of the project.