Tuesday, November 07, 2017
The plights of hapless Nigerian citizens seeking any means of survival outside should be a major concern to all conscientious and well-meaning Nigerians if we are ever going to take more than tottering steps on our desire for holistic developmental plights. The various media reports of organized sale of infants who sometimes were forcefully abducted from their mothers as was the case of two women in Enugu State who the State Governor had to compensate with a cash donation of Five Hundred Thousand Naira each (N500,000:00). Many were deported after tortuous, abusive journey across desert to the boarders of Libya in order to cross the Mediterranean to other climes for greener pastures. According to a recent brief by the National Emergency Agency, NEMA, Libya deported Nine Hundred and Seventy Five Nigerians within five weeks albeit with the assistance of an International Organisation for Migration.
The media is awashed today with the tragic news of Twenty Nigerian young ladies between the ages of 14 and 18 reportedly found dead in a Spanish warship, Cantabria in the Italian coast of Salerno, cruelly packaged like canned foods in a refrigerated section of the warship. They were part of group of Three Hundred and Seventy Five illegal migrants from Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Senegal and The Gambia who have paid some thousands of dollars as well as in kind to a notorious international syndicate of traffickers.
A country that suffers from continuous hemorrhage of her young blood and hands would be left far behind in the comity of civilized and developed nations. This is true for nations at war ditto for those in servitude. The gross under-development of the African continent by the effects of over Five Hundred years of slave trade is fresh enough to serve as gory reminder. The perennial brain drain, massive illegal migration to Europe, America even the Green Lottery of the United States of America are striking examples of contemporary 21st Century slavery and recolonisation of the mentality of the peoples of African continent.
The failure of leadership and governance institutions in Nigeria in particular and most African countries are clearly indictable for this retrogressive development. They are forced by the social pressure of abject poverty, ignorance, hunger, unemployment, high cost of living, insecurities and absolute lack of basic necessities of life to embark on this dangerous adventure of digging holes to connect the illegal migration routes to either make it alive or return in dead without a casket. This is a malaise that has grown and acerbated over years with the sporadic growth of millions of young persons without shelter, unemployed or under-employed due to a fostered policy of de-industrialisation, economicstrangulation and atomization of the family unit without any concise positive policy planning for the future.
The most unnerving trauma is the stupendous amassing or crude accumulation of wealth by a few privileged elites who have constructed a strong iron wedge-bar on the social ladder for the poor and socially alienated majority to climb even to the surface of the poverty datum pit of hell. It is trite to start narrating that the main cause of this situation is the blossoming of unbridled corruption and illicit activities by the affluent few, who flaunt their ill-gotten wealth without any concern for the disposed. This is further compounded by the Government refusal to initiate social welfare schemes for the disadvantaged citizens.
As much as we recognize and commend the efforts of National Agency for Prohibition Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) and National Emergency Agency (NEMA), these organisations are still severally handicapped and their scope of operations need to be thoroughly reviewed. A lot of the preventive campaigns of these parastatals and others would have to engage the civil platforms including parents, community and faith based organisations, educational institutions as well as other stakeholders. If the system works, the people are aware and enforcement agencies fish out the trafficking syndicates, this persistent sacrifice of our people into the embrace of illegal immigrant disasters can be highly mitigated if not totally eliminated.
It is must be emphasized that in a more civilized and advanced democracy, the Federal Government would have made an official statement on this unfortunate event. Perhaps, this underscores our call on the Government at all tiers to be alive to its responsibilities to citizens. We call for more stringent measures and closer monitoring of pertinent agencies like NAPTIP, law enforcement and particularly the Customs and Immigration Service that are statutorily mandated to protect our borders and people.
As we extend our deep-seated sympathies to the families, friends and associates of the Twenty Six Nigerian young ladies affected by this tragic event, we call on all well meaning Nigerians and philanthropists to rally round the cause to stop illegal immigration in Nigeria.
Executive Chairman, CACOL