The news has been flooded for a while with terrible and horrible stories of stranded Nigerians being sold into slavery in Libya and the murder of 26 young Nigerian women and girls in the Mediterranean. So, let these words read true in our minds and sound right in our ears. Let a nation be lucky to have you and not the other way round. There was a time when Nigerians loved their country and no matter the part of the continent they visit or stayed, they always long for their homes. My daddy was in this generation, he schooled abroad, he had the opportunity to settle down there but he choose to return home. He wanted to come back to build a better nation. He wanted to use his knowledge for the betterment of his country. Fast forward some years down the line and nothing of such nature can be said of this generation. Patriotism is dead and our youths find greener pastures in greener lands forgetting that people made those nations great not grass, nor hills nor oceans but the people living in that land.
In the 21st Century, it is shocking to hear that people sell people as slaves, here we are all thinking that slavery was a thing of the past after the first public sale of African slaves in Portugal in 1444.
We blamed the West for selling Africans forgetting that we too had a part in it. We had the willing sellers, our Kings and Village head who did not hesitate to sell us for few perceived valuables. In 1807 and 1808 England and United States of America abolished slave trade and subsequently slavery was completely abolished or was it? While it was no longer legal to deal in slave trade, it still thrived despite the laws criminalizing such acts. The act became larger than slave trade and therefore won the name human trafficking. Young ladies were trafficked and used as commercial sex workers or young men trafficked and used for forced labour. So profitable has the business become and low risk as most Governments have not criminalized human trafficking that the audacity of this organized crime groups are returning to the era of slave trade. This time it is Africans selling Africans to Africans. To me, it has become one vicious circle.
But the saddest part of it, is the Nigerian migrants who have deliberately choosed to turn a blind eye to the dangers and evils lying in wait for their desperate journey. The migrants have the mentality that they rather die trying to leave Nigeria than remain in Nigeria. I do not entirely blame them as the government ought to make the nation more conducive for the young ones. After all, we said that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. There would be no tomorrow if we drive our youths out of the country to search for better life.
Gorier is the tale of the 26 young Nigerian women and girls who lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea in search for a better life. While the National Assembly through the resolution of Rose Oko agreed to investigate the deaths it remains unseen how these mass migrations especially by the Nigerian youths can be stopped. Shameful is the fact that students who ought to be enlightened has embarked on this treacherous journey for a better life. A case in point is that of Dora Omoruyi a 23 year old arts student who opted to travel to Italy via sea because she thinks that they are no jobs in Nigeria and she has no future in Nigeria.
Linda Ikeji found herself a job, who says our youths can’t be creative. By the way, I listened to an old man recount the experience of a snail. He said the snail keeps breaking out of its shell when it becomes uncomfortable and this outbreak led to the growth of the snail. Each time the snail broke out of its shell, it grew. He said stress was good for us as it helps us to grow once we channel our energy in the right place. I say Nigerian youths need more mentors and a total change of their perception of life. They just want to be rich quick, without actually persevering, working hard and constant to achieve success.
Today, the words of Victor Basola rings true “Living in the UK does not mean that you are ok.”
Why run to a better place because someone else has sacrificed a lot to make it good, why not learn to make your place better. If death does not deter the migrants, what of slavery? The worse form of being ripped of one’s dignity.
Most of the women who travel across the Mediterranean had bruises because they had been abused, sexually and physically, I bet it is the smugglers and the traffickers that did it. Maybe, if this horrors can be exposed all the time, it would deter others from testing the waters while praying for better luck.
“We are not yet out of the shackles of mental slavery, yet we plod back willingly into physical slavery, this time not by the West but by our fellow African brothers.”