Amid rising xenophobia around the world, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ojo Maduekwe has called on European countries to grant amnesty to Nigerians living in those countries without relevant travel documents.
The local press Friday quoted the Minister as saying in the capital city of Abuja that such a move would facilitate a stronger tie between Nigeria and Europe.
Maduekwe said he told EU officials, during a recent meeting, that Europe needed to assist Nigeria to speedily attain economic development as well as improve the welfare of its citizens in Europe.
“I told them – and I was not joking when I said so – that when they came to Africa 500 years ago, they did not come in with visas.
“Since we did not criminalise those Europeans, we did not demonise those Europeans, they should not criminalise those Nigerians who come to their own countries without visa papers, especially if those Nigerians when they arrive are law abiding, are doing the kind of work that add value to the European economy.
“It is time to grant amnesty to them (Nigerians) and regularise their papers. When they do that, we can begin to take a serious look at a new strategic partnership,” the Minister said.
The call came as Nigerians and other African migrants are subjected to deadly xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
A similar but smaller scale xenophobic attacks on African migrants have been reported in Italy. Panapress .