By Adedotun Ajayi.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz brought attention to an issue during discussions with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, highlighting that approximately 14,000 Nigerians residing in Germany face the risk of deportation due to a lack of proper identification. Among this group, the majority lack identification cards, posing a challenge to their lawful stay in Germany.
This pressing matter was underscored by Chancellor Scholz, who expressed worries about the increasing influx of Nigerians seeking asylum in Germany. Presently, around 12,500 Nigerian nationals exist in a state of tolerance, termed as “Duldung” in German, as the Nigerian Government has been hesitant to facilitate their return without valid identifying documents.
Notably, “Duldung” provides a temporary permit for asylum seekers to remain in Germany for a limited duration. Despite this allowance, the obligation to depart the country remains.
President Tinubu has conveyed a willingness to facilitate the return of Nigerian asylum seekers, particularly those who are fellow citizens and have conducted themselves appropriately, aiming to improve the migration landscape.
Responding to this situation, the German Cabinet recently approved a draft legislation aiming to streamline and expedite the deportation process for individuals whose asylum claims were rejected. This initiative arises amidst Germany’s challenge of dealing with a rising trend in irregular migration.
Germany has seen a surge in its foreign population, with September statistics showing 3.26 million people registered in the Central Register of Foreigners, an increase of 111,000 compared to the beginning of the year. Within Germany’s current population of around 84.5 million, approximately 12.6 million are foreigners.
Additionally, data from destatis reveals that by March 2023, over three million individuals, including 1.01 million Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge from the repercussions of the Russian aggression, were registered for seeking protection in the Central Register of Foreigners.
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, German authorities reported that more than 21,366 irregular migrants entered the country in September 2023, marking the highest monthly influx since February 2016.
Similarly, Lazarus Olleh, a Nigerian based in the United Kingdom, has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for raping a teenager.
According to a report by the BBC, Olleh is also to be deported to Nigeria once the prison sentence is completed.
Also, Idongesit Joseph Zion, a Nigerian has been sentenced to one year imprisonment for attempted rape by a court in Bali, a province of Indonesia.
According to the Daily Mail, UK, Zion was found guilty of attempting to rape an Australian woman at a popular beachside night club in the area, and he might face possible deportation after his time.
Just recently, Abiola Tijani, a 30-year-old Nigerian student in the UK, was sentenced for 12 years and three months for rape.
A report published by the media stated that Sheffield Crown Court convicted Tijani for raping a woman who was on her way home after celebrating the completion of her A-Level exams.
The incident occurred on the night of July 29, 2023, shortly after the woman had assisted her friend into a taxi for a safe ride home.
Reacting to this, Toyyib Adewale Adelodun, a Twitter user, said “You came to the UK as a student in January 2023, and you were sentenced last week to prison for 12 years for raping a young lady who was out celebrating the completion of her A levels in July. What a tragedy! Your barbaric act has put an unforgettable scar in the joy of a young lady. l am shocked beyond words, and I hope you realise the gravity of what you have done and become a better man.”
A significant number of Nigerian deportation cases stem from charges related to lawlessness and bad behavior. How do we reconcile this behavior that seems incongruent with the lives individuals might have led both at home and abroad? What factors contribute to such actions, and how can understanding these motivations help prevent such behaviors in the future?
Bukun Phil, a psychologist, said the motivations behind Nigerians facing deportation from foreign nations can stem from a variety of factors.
According to him; “economic pressures, limited opportunities, and socioeconomic disparities may drive individuals to take drastic measures, leading to actions that result in deportation.
“Additionally, psychological stressors such as cultural dislocation, feelings of isolation, and discrimination experienced in a foreign country might contribute to behaviors that lead to deportation. Furthermore, individual psychological issues, lack of adequate support systems, or trauma experienced prior to or during migration could also play significant roles”
He said understanding these motivations requires a comprehensive approach, considering both individual psychological factors and broader socio-economic contexts. “Addressing these underlying issues is crucial to preventing such cases and supporting individuals in more constructive ways.”
Contrary to that viewpoint, George Ogunleye, a civil servant, asserts that the negative behavior and lawlessness inherent in some individuals in Nigeria manifest when they are abroad. He believes deportation serves as a suitable consequence for such behavior. Ogunleye emphasizes the importance of understanding that other countries don’t operate like Nigeria, where financial means can often resolve issues or where living without proper documentation goes unchecked. He urges Nigerians residing abroad to strive for better conduct and compliance with laws and regulations.
Khalid Okunade, a seasoned legal expert, asserts that the motivations behind Nigerians facing deportation from foreign nations often revolve around legal infractions. In his analysis, he highlights that the predominant causes leading to deportation, especially in the UK, frequently involve criminal charges, including but not limited to cases related to rape.
According to Okunade, while these deportation cases are legally justified based on the committed offenses, a deeper understanding of the circumstances that lead individuals to engage in such actions is essential. He emphasizes that socioeconomic disparities, inadequate legal guidance, and challenges in accessing proper legal representation might contribute to these situations.
Okunade underscores the necessity of a multifaceted approach, combining legal interventions with measures addressing underlying social and economic factors. He stresses the importance of providing adequate legal support and guidance to prevent such cases and ensure fair and just proceedings for individuals facing deportation.
In the academic sphere, Dr. Amanda Eze, specialised in migration studies, highlights the unique plights of the approximately 14,000 Nigerians in Germany facing deportation due to the lack of proper identification. Dr. Eze’s research underscores the complex intersection of bureaucratic hurdles and challenges faced by undocumented migrants.
According to Dr. Eze, the absence of valid identification significantly impedes these individuals’ ability to access essential services, employment opportunities, and legal status regularization. This situation not only exacerbates their vulnerability but also limits their integration prospects within the host country.
Eze emphasizes the urgent need for streamlined administrative procedures and enhanced diplomatic collaboration between nations to resolve issues surrounding identification. She advocates for innovative policy interventions that prioritize the regularization of individuals’ status while acknowledging the systemic barriers preventing proper documentation.
Eze urges policymakers and international stakeholders to address the bureaucratic obstacles hindering the identification process, aiming to afford these individuals the fundamental rights and opportunities they deserve within the framework of international law and human rights standards.