Nigeria at a crossroads: The political stakes of migration governance
Since 2014, Nigeria has outlined several initiatives on migration, including a National Migration Policy, strategies on labor migration and diaspora matters, and a coordinating framework to reform migration governance. However, in order to have a significant impact, the policy frameworks need full implementation. When it comes to migration, the Nigerian government is active on policy development but less so on putting it into effect. This tendency is exemplified by a proactive interest in diaspora migration yet a much more reactive approach toward irregular migration and trafficking. Governance initiatives in this area are dominated by international and nongovernmental actors. At worst, there is a divergence of interests between the Nigerian government and the EU with respect to legal pathways, border management, returns, and reintegration. Despite a sophisticated governance framework, the country is stalling on action, with few actors calling for more engagement in migration governance and wide acceptance of the status quo. If the EU wishes to cooperate on migration, it needs to consider Nigerian interests (or the lack thereof) or risk increasing the divergence of interests and damaging the chances of implementation.