O'Donnell Emphatically Denies That Aid to Nigeria is Dependent on Repatriation Agreement
“No Connection Between Asylum/Repatriation Policy and Overseas Aid”
Minister of State with special responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance and Human Rights, Liz O' Donnell T.D., has rejected unfounded allegations that Ireland will provide IR£8.8 million to Nigeria conditional upon signature of the forthcoming readmission agreement.
She stated: “Ireland's relatively small development cooperation with Nigeria has always been and will continue to be focussed on basic needs and poverty reduction. Ireland's development cooperation assistance in Nigeria is channelled entirely through NGOs and Missionary groups - and not through the Nigerian Government. The current criteria for projects run by NGOs remain unchanged. This form of aid has proved highly effective in targeting those most in need. Nigeria is not one of Ireland Aid's priority countries and has no agreement for Government to Government assistance involving Nigeria.
“The readmission agreement refers to Ireland's continuing commitment to development cooperation with Nigeria focussed on basic needs and poverty reduction. It is not conditional nor does it guarantee a specified amount of funding to be channelled to development projects in Nigeria and therefore the figure of IR£8.8 million is absurd.”
In 2000 Ireland Aid spent over IR£450,000 through NGOs and missionaries on development co-operation projects in Nigeria. Over £345,000 has been expended so far in 2001.