How do we explain to the thousands of prospective migrants waiting to make the perilous journey from the Libyan Coast to Europe? How would they understand, how terrible the journey is going to be? I doubt if they could ever comprehend or better cease from making the journey.
Hundred of thousands of people are leaving Africa, a continent bedeviled with poverty, hunger,war and death. These are people who have got no hopes back home and they have made a choice to take a risk of crossing to Europe through the Mediterranean because their countries have got nothing to offer them. According to BBC, just in this year 50000 migrants have reached Italian Coast from Libya and 1364 people have been estimated to have drowned in the Mediterranean this year. Also, the London Guardian has it reported that last year 179000 migrants were picked up either by Italian Navy, the EU Border Agency Frontex or by the NGOs. The report accounted for 2000 migrants that were drowned.
It is now becoming a serious problem that needs global concerted efforts.
The drivers/ factors pushing people to make these perilous journeys are obvious they are; lack of jobs, war, poverty, desertification and famine.
Africa needs a conversation between its past, present and its future. Large Scale migration of people out of Africa to seek greener pasture in Europe in this dangerous and undignified manner is an indictment of leadership in the continent, it is an evidence of how leaders in Africa have failed the people.
What is more worrisome is when you look at the Nationalities of Migrants making this fatal journey. With the recent report. Nigeria is reported to have the highest number of rescued migrants who attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
As a Nigerian, this is more worrisome and heart disturbing. Nigeria, a country with an estimated population of 180 Million, blessed with natural resources such as Oil, Gas, fertile land for agriculture, abundance solid minerals well distributed across the country and with with human resources too. Yet 2/3 of its population still live in acute poverty. This is inconceivable.
Efforts of desperate Nigerians like these to cross to Europe should be a call for reflection to all. For 57 years, our leaders have failed to invest in human development, inclusive economic growth to make the country work for all and sundry.
It is also unacceptable, at this time for Nigerian Government to be complacent and not addressing the underlying drivers that push these young Nigerians out to make these perilous journeys.
Nigeria as a country returned back to Democracy in 1999. Since 1999, we have been witnessing corruption of high magnitude, further breaking down of social order,widening gap of inequality between the rich and the poor and high unemployment rate. Without not mincing words, Nigeria is not working for all, the Nigerian State is showing evidence of a failed state which is evidential in the high number of people that are living in abject poverty and with no hope on the government.
Do we say Nigeria is poor? I do not agree partially with this notion, the problem we have are dysfunctional and visionless leaders that fail to harness the nation’s resources to benefit all and sundry in the country. To corroborate my point, the European Union has recently removed Nigeria from the list the list of aid beneficiaries in Africa. The EU bluntly asserted that Nigeria is not poor in comparison to other countries who really deserve the aids.
Then if Nigeria is not poor, what is the problem? The problems are endemic corruption, greed, lack of accountability,lack of welfare oriented state, lack of national identity.
What is ironical is that the Nigerian Senate and House Of Representatives are not even bothered by the alarming rate of young Nigerians making this fatal journey, they are not even perturbed to have a discussion on how to stop these young able bodied who have lost hope in the system and has given up about Nigeria. It is obvious, the Nigerian politicians have lost touch with the daily struggles of the common people in the country.
Shoud we allow this shameful situation to continue? I call it a shameful situation, as an African and as a Nigerian. Seeing constant headlines on the BBC and the ZDF( GermanTV) showing young Africans on board a rickety boat calling for help in order to be saved from a capsized boat swhich are about to sink. These are gory scenes, these are pictures that tells us we have a big problem as Africans. Like I said earlier Africa needs urgently to be rescued, otherwise the continent will reach a point where it can not be redeemed.
At the level of African Union, what are the initiatives to stop these young able bodied from making these perilous journeys? What are the initiatives of Africa Union to foster economic growth and development across the continent? How do we create jobs for our young people, how do we restill the hope and belief in Africa back in their minds?
The world is moving but Africa has refused to progress, I do not think this should be acceptable in 2017.
The African Union needs to do more, to foster real economic growth in the continent. The present status quo is shameful and will not take the continent to nowhere.
How do we expect real economic growth, when most countries in Africa still rely on foreign aids/donations to prepare their budgets and execute projects. With this,what is the prospect of having financial independence?
From the North of the continent, to the East, to the West and to the South, it is all same cries for good life, affordable healthcare, jobs, security of lives and properties , infrastructures and social justice.
I do not think these demands are too much, African Leaders need to deliver goods of good governance to the people, as they have betrayed us for so long.
I am calling on all stakeholders in Nigeria and Africa at large. How do we stop there recurring deaths of African Migrants on the Mediterranean Sea? How do we stop the inhumane activities going on in Libya,where African Migrants are being sold as slaves, women are raped in mass and other gory tales narrated to me by the people who have made these journeys .
It is about a high time for us to have a discussion about the future of Africa and ways to redeem its lost glory.
( This is a piece from me, Issa Lookman).