Muscat insists on the repatriation of ‘illegal’ asylum seekers

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat meets Nigerian president Goodluck Johnathan in EU-Africa summit in Brussels

Muscat met Goodluck Johnathan in Brussels
Muscat met Goodluck Johnathan in Brussels

Migration dominated talks between Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Nigerian president Goodluck Johnathan during the EU-Africa summit held in Brussel, with Muscat saying that 155 Nigerian nationals were about to be repatriated.

Muscat and Johnathan discussed relations between the two countries and migration was one of the key matters discussed during the meeting.

Pointing out the presence of a sizable Nigerian community in Malta, Muscat said a number of Nigerian nationals had entered the country legally, married and settled and in some cases became parents of Maltese children.

The government statement however noted that Muscat told the Nigerian president that despite the positive aspect of migration “it is unacceptable that Nigerian persons attempt to enter Malta illegally.”

He said that currently, 155 Nigerian nationals who entered Malta “illegally” were in the process of being sent back to Nigeria.

Insisting on calling asylum seekers who reached Malta as “illegal,” Muscat urged Johnathan to speed up bi-lateral negotiations on migration and achieve “concrete” advancements.

These negotiations, Muscat said, would lead to repatriation of Nigerian nationals who were not granted an asylum status.

The two leaders also discussed the criminal rackets which are involved in the trafficking og migrants from Africa to Europe.

In a recent report on Nigeria, Amnesty International said the escalation of violence in north-eastern Nigeria in 2014 has “developed into a situation of non-international armed conflict in which all parties are violating international humanitarian law.

The human rights organization called on the international community to step up efforts to stop the “extrajudicial executions, attacks on civilians and other crimes under international law being committed on a mass scale” which over three months led to the death of 1,500 persons.