Nigeria is an important destination country for migrants in the West African region. The latest available figures indicate that the number of immigrants residing in Nigeria has more than doubled in recent decades. The majority of immigrants in Nigeria are from neighbouring ECOWAS countries.
Although Nigeria is an important destination for migrants in the region, there are more people that emigration from, than immigration to, Nigeria. Most Nigerians abroad live in Sudan, the United States or the United Kingdom. There has also been a marked increase in the number of Nigerians emigrating for educational purposes. From 2000 to 2006, the number of Nigerian students abroad more than doubled. An important result of Nigerian emigration is the dramatic increase in official remittance flows, from USD 2.3 billion in 2004 to USD 17.9 billion in 2007. In 2007, remittances accounted for 6.7 per cent of the GDP.
Nigeria is one of the few countries in West Africa to have developed a draft national policy on migration, which awaits ratification by the National Assembly. The policy is comprehensive, covering migration and development, organized labour migration, irregular migration, forced displacement, human rights of migrants, migration data and statistics, as well as funding for migration management. In 2009, the National Commission for Refugees was mandated to become the focal agency on migration, responsible for revising and implementing the draft national migration policy.
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