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President of the Senate Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has expressed the
willingness of the National Assembly to support efforts being made by
the Federal Government and the European Union (EU) to mitigate the
rising incidence of illegal migration into European countries.

Saraki who stated this when the new EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil
Karlson, visited him in Abuja, also stressed the need for quick
resolution of all pending agreements between Nigeria and EU on
migration issues.
In a statement by the Head, International Relations to the President
of the Senate, Bamikole Omishore, in Abuja, Saraki also called on the
envoy to help facilitate capacity building for illegal migrants from
Nigeria in Europe to encourage them to return home with skills to
sustain a livelihood.

He also called on the EU to ensure that Nigerians legally staying in
Europe are not only protected but have their stay properly
regularized.

He commended the EU for the role they played in ensuring the success
of the 2015 general elections and urged to sustain the gesture in
future elections.



Responding to remarks by the envoy, Saraki said, "I know there are a
number of issues that are of great concern to you and to us,
particularly in the area of migration. I know there are pending
agreements between Nigeria and the EU that we need to be prompt about
and come to quick resolution so as to be able to put those agreements
in place.

"This I believe will help us address the issue of illegal immigrants
into the EU and also to see what kind of responses we can build, like
capacity, to make it more attractive for these Nigerians to come back
and be able to sustain a livelihood.

"I think this is something we need to start pushing forward in our
discussions and see how we can begin to implement something that will
work.

"I also think that during your tenure in the country, this is a very
important area where we need to see work done. We need to see how we
can provide some vocational training for individuals that are willing
to come back.

"I think at the same time, we must also encourage Nigerians that are
in Europe legally and are doing legitimate businesses to see that they
get a fair share of the possibility of ensuring that they are properly
regularized in the EU," Saraki stated.

Earlier, Ambassador Karlson described Nigeria and the EU as natural
political partners and pledged to work to further cement the existing
cordial relations between the EU and the country.

Karlson said: "So whatever I can do to promote that understanding you
can count on me. As I enter my tenure and be responsible for a very
significant development cooperation portfolio I would wish
nevertheless to emphasize the political relationship.

"I think we are natural political partners. Of course, in dialogue
around Nigeria but also on the regional and international stage.

"We look to Nigeria as a likeminded partner in international
relations. Hopefully we will have very close relations. You can count
on me to be your ambassador also in the promotion of Nigeria's
interest in Europe and my availability for working together on
different agenda and platforms."
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