Human trafficking, illegal migration reinforce calls for restructuring
According to Vice President General of the group, Chief Ferdinand Ezejiofor Akpusi, restructuring the country would encourage industrialisation and ultimately lead to job creation that could discourage illegal migration by youths for greener pastures with its attendant negative consequences.
This is as economic and political marginalisation of youths in the country were also blamed for the migration and the sad situation where hundreds of Nigerians are reportedly sold as slaves in Libya, even as the United Nations has been urged to pressurise the Nigerian government to tackle social issues that cause migration.
On its part, the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) is calling on the Federal Government to push for the expulsion of Libya from the African Union (AU) over the sale of Africans, including Nigerian migrants as slaves.
Reacting to the death of Nigerians daily on the Mediterranean Sea, while attempting to cross over to Europe, Akpusi, described the development as alarming, stressing that the Federal Government must rethink and rework policies that could encourage Nigerians to invest at home, as well as, ensure better conditions of living.
He said: “If restructuring the country and industrialisation come to play, this would go a long way in halting illegal migration. If Nigeria is restructured and the Igbo harness their God-given mineral resources and expertise in terms of manufacturing, and go into exportation, there would be no reason why our people would undertake torturous and rather fatal journeys across the Sahara Desert, with the hope of crossing the Mediterranean Sea, to European shores in pursuit of greener pastures.
“These migrants are faced with horrible living conditions, kidnapping, forced labour, modern day slavery, where migrants are sold for $400 per person, contracting infections and dying in the process, while some ladies are sexually abused and die from health complications arising from moves to abort unwanted pregnancies.”
The Ohanaeze chieftain, who disclosed that the group in Spain was not happy with reports of constant illegal migration and the attendant deaths, called on the Federal government to recommit to “reuniting a highly polarised nation, and reawakening the giant in all parts thereof.”
He stressed that “as long as people are mistreated on grounds of their electoral choices, or where they come from, the quest for President of various ethnic extractions will continue, and the need for the search for greener pastures in foreign lands will also hold sway.”
On his part, the Executive Director, Hope For Niger Delta Campaign, Sunny Ofehe, canvassed that socioeconomic inclusion will stem migration at the 10th session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues, organised by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ofehe pointed out that the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) has estimated that most African migrants in Libya and those who have died on the Mediterranean Sea are from Nigeria. And to avert the further enslavement of more Nigerians and other African migrants, he urged the United Nations to prevail on the Nigeria to tackle social issues that necessitate migration and the resultant loss of lives on the Mediterranean Sea.
“It is a sad reality to note that most of these Nigerian migrants are from two States; Edo and Delta in Nigeria. I am from Delta State, ladies and gentlemen. Delta State has the highest number of tertiary institutions in Nigeria and yet we have the highest number of unemployed graduates.
“This is in addition to the number of youths who do not have access to basic education and vocational skills. Therefore, our society is now plagued with roaming youths without job and means of livelihood. The future for them has remained bleak with no hope in sight.”
The human rights activist lamented that the youths have become vulnerable to human smugglers and traffickers, who promise them better lives in Europe through the horrendous desert journey to countries like Algeria, Morocco and Libya.
His words: “I have spoken to a few of them currently living in Libya and what you hear from them is ‘it is better for me to die in Libya trying to cross the sea to Europe than to die in Nigeria of hunger and starvation, for us all death is the same, but we must die trying.’ This is the sad reality that we now in my state and my country.”
According to CHRICHED, expulsion of Libya from the AU has become necessary as a way of sending a strong and clear message to Libyan authorities that the rest of Africa frowns seriously at the dehumanising treatment of Africans on their own continent.
“While recognising efforts being made by the government to evacuate Nigerians that are stranded in Libya, it is our considered view that Abuja should move beyond these emergency response towards exploring other soft power assets to cut bilateral ties, as well as working towards imposing sanctions and trade embargoes on Libya. These strong steps would make it very clear that these barbaric acts happening in Libya are totally unacceptable.”
Also, a former member of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bamidele Faparusi, has called on both the federal and state governments to run a massive sensitisation campaigns against illegal migration to Europe through Libya.
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