The United Kingdom on Wednesday said it was committed to the implementation of the Prisoners Transfer Agreement (PTA) it signed with Nigeria in January.
Mr Hugh Ind, Director of Compliance and Returns, Home Office of the U.K. Border Agency, restated the commitment during a meeting on the review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Migration in Abuja.
Ind, who led a delegation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the U.K. remained grateful to the speedy signing of the PTA.
He said the bilateral cooperation signed by both governments in 2011 had improved relations between both countries.
“Nigeria is a valued partner to the U.K. and we have made real progress on real issues since that communiqué of nearly three years ago.
“It has been a platform for a number of high level visits and exchange of information on an operational level.
“We were impressed with the speed colleagues progressed and we remain committed to the implementation of that agreement”, he said.
The envoy held that both countries had developed cooperation in human trafficking, visa services and migration, adding that more could still be done to strengthen the relationship.
Amb. Martin Uhomoibhi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the review of the MoU on Migration would enable both parties agree on areas that needed to be amended.
Uhomobhi said the review would also make known those areas that both countries needed to cooperate more.
“The challenges caused by irregular migration can only be addressed together.
“These periodic reviews recognise the fact that irregular migration is a fluid situation which must be tackled in a manner that is fluid, flexible and robust.
“We will remain true to the spirit of mutual cooperation and respect for human rights and dignity of all migrants.
“This is without prejudice to the myriad security challenges that evolved in recent years and the necessity to include aspects of this at tackling irregular migration”, he said.
Nigeria and the U.K. signed a PTA in January to pave way for the repatriation of some of the 521 Nigerians serving jail terms in the U.K.
According to the agreement, a prisoners’ consent will not be required before repatriation.