By ADEOLA ADEROUNMU, Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Mediterranean Sea’

Lampedusa , The Road to Death…

Adeola Aderounmu

African rulers especially those in the West, East and the Horn of Africa should really be ashamed of themselves.

How they push their citizens to deaths in the Mediterrenean (dead) sea is a big shame on them.

Economic hardship continues to lead many Africans into desperate attempts to get out of Africa at any cost-even death.

It is unthinkable how the same type of “madness” repeats itself with accuracy. Something is wrong with the rulers of North Africa where boats are taken regularly to Lampedusa and other small European-claimed Islands that provides first contact of migrants to Europe.

Then Europe responds as if it cares only for the same response to greet the next waiting tragedy.

In totality everyone connected with this tragedy is acting like they care.

Everyone condemns the deaths but no one cares to stop to next one.

Many African rulers are not thinking of improving security and economic situations in their territories. Many of them and the politicians generally continue to steal, loot and care “less” for their citizenns.

The next set of desperate migrants are already looking for ways to cross into Lampedusa depsite this new tragedy. The next Libyan or Tunisian dealer is already looking for customers and the government in these North African countries don’t give a damn about the suicide missions.

So the cycle of madness continues.

The problem is not Italy’s problem. It is the problem of all the countries in Africa where these migrants come from-Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Ghana, Cameroun and so on.

Often the migrants lie about their countries of origin depending on the ease of getting sympathy or asylum in Europe.

When the world is ready, they will inform the North African government how disappointed they are about the flow of deadly traffic from the waters of North Africa.

When the world is ready, they will inform useless African rulers about how they have impoverished and deprived their citizens of good life.

The advanced countries are probably “ok” with the flow of the willing slavery business that is now totally voluntary! What a sad irony!

Those advanced countries that continue to collude and connive with African leaders to misuse or cart away the treasures of Africa are also parts of the problems.

The biggest chunk of the issue rest on the mentalities of African rulers and how they have enslaved their people beyond the transatlantic slave trade era.

If people are happy at home, they will not find the need to take suicide missions across the waters of North Africa.

These migrants should actually be forming pressure groups at home to force regime change that can bring about positive decelopments in Africa. The problem is that once people capture power in Africa, a certain “spirit” of selfishness take over them and they become blind to the realities of the others.

So in a way, the situation is complex and the way out is difficult.

Summarily, as Europeans continue with their hypocrisy on this situation, Africans especially the would-be migrants should be asking themselves: how long do they want to dive into the deadly waters before they realise that their continent that is full of treasures and opportunities can be turned around for their own good.

(unedited)

aderounmu@gmail.com

twitter: @aderinola

Death of Nigerian immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea (The Nigerian Guardian Editorial)

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian Monday 4th August 2008.

THE shocking news of the death of two Nigerian children travelling with their father aboard a boat ferrying immigrants across the Mediterranean sea en-route Italy once again brings to the fore the harrowing experience of many Nigerians who are desperate to escape the hardship in the country. The depressing economic condition in the country is taking a toll on the population. How to address this problem and check the flight of Nigerians from their own country for largely economic reasons remains a major challenge for the country’s leaders.

The two children reportedly died at sea of starvation and were thrown overboard by their father who was travelling along with 74 other illegal migrants before the Italian coastguard in the Mediterranean Sea picked up their boat. The migrants had set off from Libya. This is happening at a time the Italian authorities have declared a state of emergency on illegal immigration.

A fortnight ago also, 14 Nigerians perished in the same Mediterranean Sea off the Spanish coast. A small open boat, presumably not seaworthy, carrying over 37 Nigerians, capsized in rough seas with waves of up to six metres on July 8. A Spanish maritime rescue ship reportedly managed to rescue 23 of the illegal immigrants while 14 were unaccounted for. The dead included two pregnant women.

This is not the first time that Nigerian illegal immigrants have perished in the Mediterranean waters in a bid to enter Europe. The Organisation for Human Rights in Andalusia (APDH-A), a Spanish human rights group says more than 921 illegal immigrants died at sea trying to reach Spain in 2007. Out of this number, 732 perished close to the western coast of North Africa at the start of their journey while another 189 died near the coast of Spain. The majority of the immigrants were from sub-Saharan Africa of which Nigerians constituted the largest percentage.

These incidents should compel a sober reflection on the worsening state of the nation’s economy that has made the country hostile and uncomfortable for many people thereby forcing thousands of citizens to flee the country even at great risk to their lives. The death of these unfortunate Nigerians in search of better opportunities in Europe, even through illegal routes, is a sad comment on the Nigerian situation. It is sadder still that reports of tragedies such as these do not discourage other would-be illegal immigrants.

The embassies are besieged daily by thousands of Nigerians who are seeking visas and hoping to remain abroad illegally. The presumption is that the streets of Western countries are paved with gold and that life outside Nigeria would necessarily be better. Many have lost their lives and hopes in the process.

The harsh economic situation in the country is to blame. There is mass unemployment, social infrastructure is decaying, there is insecurity in the land, poverty stalks the land as virtually every sector of the economy is depressed. The list of woes is unending and nothing could be more scary. Since the 1980s when the economy took a plunge for the worse, large numbers of Nigerians have sought refuge abroad to escape the hardship at home. Many believe that doing odd jobs abroad is better than languishing at home. This is the driving force.

Consequently, thousands of Nigerians queue up daily, at the gates of foreign embassies in the country seeking visas. The embassies have devised stringent conditions to prevent many from obtaining visas. As a result, only a handful of visa applicants succeed. In utter desperation, therefore, those denied visas seek alternative means to accomplish their desire. To worsen the matter, a syndicate of unscrupulous Nigerians has capitalised on the ugly situation to defraud unsuspecting would-be immigrants with promises of visas and jobs abroad on payment of fees running into thousands of dollars.

It is these crooks that organise such hazardous and illegal trips across the Mediterranean Sea after the victims have paid the agreed fees and have, in most cases, been issued fake visas. In the case of immigrants whose destination is Europe, the syndicate would first transport them to any of the North African countries from where they are ferried by rickety boats across the sea. It is in the course of such ill-conceived trips that accidents occur.

This has smeared the image of Nigerians across the globe. Consequently, on arrival at foreign entry points, security operatives subject our citizens to untold harassment and inhuman treatment. Unfortunately, Nigerian government officials at home and in foreign missions have not helped matters. In a way, the maltreatment of Nigerians abroad is a reflection of how Nigerians are treated by their own government.

To discourage more Nigerians from fleeing abroad as illegal immigrants, governments across the federation would have to improve conditions at home, and make the governance process more citizen-friendly

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