German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Bernhard Schlagheck, has revealed that 13,000 Nigerians are currently seeking asylum in Germany. The reasons they gave for their applications, according to the ambassador, range from insecurity arising from Boko Haram insurgency to political persecution in Nigeria.
Ambassador Schlagheck however hinted that his country was not convinced that there is political persecution in Nigeria at the moment.
He said: “There are 13,000 asylum applications in Germany. We are legally required to know if the person (applying) has been persecuted for political reasons.
“Think of Nigeria the way you want but there is no political persecution here. The likelihood that most of these absurd applications will be rejected is almost 90 to 99 percent.”
Ambassador Schlagheck made the revelations on Wednesday in Abuja when the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora led by its chairman, Hon. Rita Orji, visited the German embassy on oversight functions.
Noting the cordial relationship that had existed between Nigeria and Germany over the years, Schlagheck said that Germany’s visa processes were not cumbersome for people with genuine economic and educational intentions.
“For people wishing to study in Germany, it is not difficult to get a visa. It is easier than you think. It requires filing the details or you can just go to our website,” he advised. He also stated that there were Nigerians in Germany “who were willing to return”, because “the pastures are not green”.
Dr Ralf Sanftenberg, a top German official, had during a visit to the Nigerian presidency in Abuja on 7 February revealed that there were more than 12,000 Nigerian asylum-seekers in his country and the overwhelming majority of them had practically no chances of being successful with their claims.
Sanftenberg, who is Global Head of programme, Migration and Development at Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, revealed that between then and the end of next year, Germany intends to deport more than 12,000 Nigerians.
Nigerian nationals have the highest rejection rate of asylum applications made by Africans in Europe, according to a 2016 report of the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.
Kola Tella with NAN report