Nige­ri­ans and the search for ‘greener pas­ture’

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Fidelis Bene­dict Kubwa, Abuja wrote from

When re­ports emerged that 26 Nige­rian women and girls were found dead in a mi­grant ship on their way to Eu­rope, I was not sur­prised. But I have al­ways won­dered why some Nige­ri­ans choose to con­tin­u­ously em­bar­rass them­selves by em­bark­ing on dan­ger­ous jour­neys to other coun­tries which of­ten turn out as a metaphor for great ills.

Of­ten times, peo­ple who em­bark on such trips all in search of bet­ter life, never get to their des­ti­na­tions and even when they do, they are dis­grace­fully repa­tri­ated, as­saulted or even killed.

The be­lief that the cur­rent state of the na­tion’s econ­omy is pro­pel­ling the re­course to such ad­ven­ture is a very lame one be­cause even the economies of the coun­tries they strug­gle to en­ter, are suf­fer­ing.

Be­sides, if all Nige­ri­ans of pro­duc­tive age de­cide to es­cape to other coun­tries, I won­der who will re­main to de­velop the coun­try. Many coun­tries that are rich to­day passed through one hard pe­riod or the other. China, which is to­day a coun­try ad­mired by many was once un­der the con­trol of stronger na­tions.

They were pay­ing taxes and other levies to stronger na­tions who sub­jected Chi­nese na­tion­als to in­hu­man treat­ment, but grad­u­ally, the peo­ple of China strug­gled to build their coun­try into what it is to­day; the world’s sec­ond largest econ­omy, one of the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced coun­tries in the world, and a coun­try where other na­tion­als as­pire to visit.

There are sev­eral other coun­tries like that. Even in Africa, Rwanda, which suf­fered a hor­ren­dous geno­cide in the early 80’s, has grown to be­come one of Africa’s suc­cess sto­ries, same with Botswana and Namibia among oth­ers. Why then should Nige­ria, con­sid­ered a big power in Africa, be made to carry the shame of her cit­i­zens trudg­ing out to other coun­tries in search of bet­ter life?

I am not hold­ing brief for the gov­ern­ment, but I con­sider it a man­i­fes­ta­tion of lazi­ness to tie such shame­ful jour­neys to gov­ern­ment’s in­abil­ity to pro­vide jobs for the cit­i­zens. Even in the coun­tries that they run to, they are gen­er­ally not em­ployed by gov­ern­ment, but hang out for me­nial jobs and pros­ti­tu­tion in some cases.

Cit­i­zens of those coun­tries are them­selves look­ing for ways to im­prove their lives, and at times, vent their anger on for­eign­ers who they claim are tak­ing their jobs, ex­am­ple is South Africa, where sev­eral Nige­ri­ans have been killed in the re­cent past. It is there­fore im­por­tant for fel­low Nige­ri­ans to strive to re­main at home to cut a liv­ing for them­selves, no mat­ter how mod­est, in­stead of troop­ing to other lands.

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