by Kayode Ogundamisi
Just glanced through a list of over 2380 Nigerians who had returned from the notorious Libyan Slave camps on failed suicide trip to Europe. NOT ONE name from areas affected by the deadly Nigerian Boko Haram war. All the names on the list of 2380 are from stable Southern Nigeria. Is Boko Haram also operating in the South? Aside the general state of insecurity, the economic crisis that is also applicable to most countries, do we really have a full-blown war in Southern Nigeria? Are people ducking from bombs and mass refugee’s camps, even if we had war in Southern Nigeria would it not make sense to see long lines of refugees heading towards Seme Border in Lagos or the border between Cross River and Cameroon or any other bordering countries in the South? No, our compatriots head North, cross to Niger and then to Libya on the dream deadly journey to Europe. Our young girls now account for the largest number of prostitutes in Europe, our drug dealing compatriots now account for the number of undesirables on European streets, not one will you meet a Nigerian victim of Boko Haran crisis, just that migrant who wants and desires a ‘better life’ and nothing wrong in that but for choosing a deadly route and expecting applause when it goes wrong.
One would have expected those facing Boko Haram war in the Northern part of Nigeria to be the first to face North Africa considering they are also closer to Niger and the Slave trade route, but no, they remained in IDP camps, relocated to safe areas within Nigeria and Africa, hoping things will get better. They are now our ‘maiguards’ in Lagos, you find them pushing wheel barrows in Aba, working on farms in Ikare and doing all that it takes to survive.
As we cry against the Libyans, can we also call out GREED disguised as DESPERATION, the very factor influencing most of the travelers? We can all try being politically correct but we have to go into our Southern Nigerian communities and find out what is really happening, who are the criminal gangs selling greed to our vulnerable citizens?
It is natural for humans to seek opportunities but if you chose to pay thousands of dollars so you can have more than the basic needs of life, live in affluence areas or build mansions, the price you pay could be disastrous.
It is understandable when refugees from war torn areas such as Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and if even Boko Haram crisis infected areas chose the Sahara route over gun and bomb blasts at home, but for an economic migrant to invest millions of naira into a journey of no return? It sure speaks volumes, I shudder in disbelief as one of the victims with a Yoruba sounding name on CNN claim he would rather die than return to his home town in Ogun State. I try to imagine what could be going on in Ogun State that would inspire such desperation.
I acknowledge that Nigeria is not an outstanding place to be, a number of us migrated years back as a matter of choice, but that choice does not include subjecting our dignity in a slave camp. As I type this another set of Nigerians are probably on their way to the land of no return, they may have watched the CNN expose but ignore the danger, the only image they see is that of a neighbor who left few years back and he’s now ‘doing well’ in Europe. They will never see the drowning family, the young girl raped to death, the viral video of the Edo lady made to swallow the urine of her Libyan slave master, the young Nigerian girls buried in Italy, abandoned by their own government, the new set of victims are propelled by the Nigerian lingo of “It is not my portion”, it is only when death come staring at them during the journey they know danger does not understand Nigerian lingos or our religious mumbo jumbo.
You have nothing but yourself to blame. Welcome back home, borrow yourself some brain, there are better legitimate means of migration, invest those millions on small scale business or die hard trying to migrate to Europe. The choice is yours. Nigeria is facing multiple challenges, don’t add your own self-inflicted choices to it.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija