Libya: ‘No Brother in the Jungle’

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REUBEN ABATI
TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI, Email: reuben.abati@thisdaylive.com and abati1990@gmail.com

TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI

Arab countries have a tradition of slavery dating back to centuries. This has persisted despite the existence of international conventions and legal frameworks classifying slavery as a crime against humanity. The current situation in Libya, involving slavery and human trafficking, has been brought to global attention because we now live in the age of communication where nothing good or bad can be hidden forever. But the situation is far worse than has been depicted.

The Nigerians who have been brought back from Libya have told heart-rending stories of woe and misery: how they were sold into slavery by the Arabs and by their own Nigerian brothers and sisters, how they were subjected to all forms of indignity including rape, extortion, and torture, and how living in Libya is now the equivalent of a trip to hell. Quite a number of issues deserve closer interrogation to enable us appreciate the depth of this crisis.

The Libyan story today is a sorry advertisement for the abuse of NATO and the failure of the American foreign policy process. The multinational coalition that intervened in the Libyan civil war in 2011 and made the removal of Libyan strongman Muammar Ghadaffi its primary objective must by now be full of regrets. It is instructive that former US President Barack Obama has described the failure to think through the consequences of that intervention as the “worst mistake” of his Presidency.

The character of that mistake lies in the fact that NATO and other forces despite the division among the global powers on the question of Libya, saw the internal crisis in Libya as an opportunity to deal with a man who had been labeled at various times as the “mad dog of the Middle East”, and who was gradually expressing “imperialist ambitions” – “the king of kings of Africa” with a pan-African vision. NATO’s intervention was an act of vendetta, an orchestrated punishment for a man who had been declared guilty of dictatorship. It was most convenient for the multinational coalition, with its eyes fixed on Libya’s oil, to support the rebels. The result is the mayhem that has overtaken Libya since the fall of Ghadaffi.

Under Ghadaffi’s watch, Libya was a stable, organized society. Following the bloodless coup that led to the flight into exile of King Idris 1 in 1969, the new leader, Muammar Ghadaffi, not only abolished the monarchy, he embarked on a mission of unifying the various clans under the umbrella of Libyan nationalism. He seized control of the country’s oil infrastructure from Western interests and redistributed wealth by creating a welfare system. The average Libyan had access to free housing, free medical care, and free education. The government provided infrastructure, and although Ghadaffi soon became a practical dictator, he managed to grow a sense of Libyan identity and unity.

Seeing himself as a pan-Africanist, he encouraged closer relations with other African nations. Many Africans from Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and other African countries lived and worked in Libya, even if many of them took the menial jobs that an average Libyan would not touch – at that time. The country’s foreign reserve was about $200 billion. Its life expectancy and literacy rates were among the highest in Africa and the Arab world. The average Libyan enjoyed many opportunities except the freedom to be different or query the government and the Constitution. Those who removed and killed Ghadaffi didn’t realize how much of a potentially divided country Libya was, and the extent of Ghadaffi’s efforts in managing the centrifugal tendencies.

After Ghadaffi, Libya imploded. Anything is possible in Libya today because there is no responsible government in charge. People are resorting to self-help. Anybody that is armed exercises authority and does anything to make money. The welfare state has collapsed, criminality is widespread: kidnapping, slavery, violence, the economy is in shambles. Clannish and sectarian differences now predominate. The country is drifting. Most of the people are like prisoners, including those who are gainfully employed. In the absence of a government, the international community appears helpless. This is the setting for the chaos and the humanitarian crisis that has overtaken that country.

Libya remains nonetheless, a major transit point and exit route for many Africans seeking to escape illegally into Europe. Libya, a country whose land area is almost twice the size of Nigeria, has over 2,000 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline from the Egyptian border to the Tunisian border. Frustrated by the objective conditions in their own countries, in the form of crippling poverty, misgovernance, unemployment and the difficulty of getting a visa or being able to buy a ticket to Europe, many Africans, particularly West Africans opt for the cheaper, albeit illegal option of sneaking into Europe through the desert and across the Mediterranean sea, with Libya and Algeria as the most popular exit points. This has always been a risky venture, but the traffic continues to grow. It is also an organized criminal operation involving gangs at home, and along the route. Nigerians constitute the majority of these illegal migrants.

Organized by a criminal gang at home, they usually travel through Niger, which is a contiguous, ECOWAS country. In Niger, another gang of human traffickers, mostly Touaregs take over from their Nigerian partners to take the illegal migrants across the desert to Libya. Only about 60-70% eventually make it to Libya. Many die along the way because of the harsh desert conditions and they are buried in the sand. Those who eventually make it to Libya are not necessarily lucky. They may be kidnapped at the border by rampaging Arab militants, turned into slaves, and asked to contact their families back home to pay ransom. The men are beaten; the women are raped. The images that we have seen from Libyan slave camps are sad. Arab racism has been an issue and violence towards foreigners is not necessarily new in Libya, but it is getting worse because now the issue is not strictly racism but the people’s desperation for survival in a state that failed.

It is estimated that about 500, 000 – 700, 000 Nigerians are trapped in Libya. The Obasanjo government once had to repatriate over 17, 000 Nigerians from that country. In the light of recent developments, the Buhari government has also repatriated over 1, 000 Nigerians from Libya in 2017 alone, but there is no hope that all of them can be brought back home. Many will like to return home, but they don’t even have the means to transport themselves to the evacuation points. Those that are not enslaved are still hoping to make enough money to be able to cross to Europe. They wash cars, work as farm hands or as security guards, or prostitutes, and they get exposed to all the dangers imaginable. The few who manage to make the final journey to Europe are not always lucky either: they could perish in the sea like the 26 Nigerian girls who recently drowned while trying to cross into Italy.

The saddest part of it all is that Nigerians are also involved in the trafficking and dehumanization of their own compatriots. In a shocking account by one Sunday Anyaegbunam, a Libyan returnee, who left Nigeria in April 2017, with his wife, we are told that: “The Nigerians selling people in Libya are more wicked than many of the Arabs. I have never seen people so heartless as the Nigerians who bought and sold me. There are many of them in Agadez and Sabha, who are making so much money from selling their own people. But there are other West Africans doing the business too. When you approach them and say “please, my brother, help me”. They would tell you: “No brother in the jungle”. Libya is indeed now a jungle in the hands of armed militants, the Islamic State, tribal gangs, and an interim leadership authority. The jungle is a dangerous place: which is why it is surprising that more Nigerians would prefer to abandon their own country and go to the jungle.

About 70% of the Libyan returnees are reportedly from Edo State, and in general most of them are from Edo, Delta, Imo, Anambra and Rivers states. But this is not enough reason for this problem to be treated as Southern Nigerian or Christian. This should not be about North or South, or Christian vs Muslim. It is unacceptable for every Nigerian issue to be reduced to this kind of division, the same way some Nigerians tend to dismiss Boko Haram as a Northern problem. This is a crisis that affects all of us. It is embarrassing that Nigerians are deserting their own country and flocking to Europe in droves despite the risks of illegal migration. In the 70s, many Nigerians were proud and happy to live at home, but since the introduction of austerity measures in the 80s and the gradual collapse of the Nigerian economy, a new kind of economy has since developed around dangerous choices.

The consequences are not limited to the tales from Libya. There are Nigerians in jail or on the death row across the world, in China, Thailand and the Middle East. We need to have a strong policy in place to check illegal migration. Massive enlightenment campaigns should be organized to educate the populace about the associated dangers. There is an assignment here for the National Orientation Agency (NOA), a strategic agency, which has been relatively sleepy since 2015. Our youths should be told that there is no safe route to Europe through the desert or a boat ride.

Everybody should wake up – government, civil society, and all the people who have abdicated their responsibilities at the level of the family unit. The human trafficking gangs in the country especially in the identified major centres should be tracked, identified and sanctioned. Government should create a conducive environment for our youths to make a living at home. Government has a constitutional responsibility to empower all Nigerians and to guarantee their security and welfare. Nigeria should also engage the government of Niger. What can we do to prevent illegal migration through Niger? This has to be a joint responsibility between Nigeria and Niger. Although Chad is not in ECOWAS, quite a number of Nigerians also travel through that route. Joint border patrol and exchange of useful intelligence between Nigeria and her neighbors would be advisable.

The Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Edo State Government and the International Organization on Migration, CNN, Pastor Temitope Joshua’s The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and every other group or agency that has responded decently and responsibly to the plight of the Nigerians from Libya, and the evil of slavery in Libya, deserve to be commended.

In spite of the deviousness of a minority who earn a living by dehumanizing their fellow human beings, it is enheartening to see that warm blood still flows in the heart of mankind. The Edo State government has put in place perhaps the most comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the Libya returnees: counseling, accommodation, vocational training, and take off grants after training.
These are worthy steps, but they are at best short-term. The long-term measures for all governments should be good governance, public enlightenment and concerted international action against slavery and all forms of cruelty and inhumanity.

  • Razor

    4k the imperialist NATO countries.

  • The Light

    Arab nation had contributed more on slavery than Europe. Unfortunately, we do not have black people in Arab world because all of them were castrated. Today Arab nations claim to be brothers to the black people so as to enslave with Islamic religion. Arabs are the greatest enemies of black people.

  • Darcy

    “It is estimated that about 500, 000 – 700, 000 Nigerians are trapped in Libya. ”

    The problem with Nigeria! Estimated by whom???

    https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean

    Looking through that, the highest figures for arrival is 1 million, and that was in 2016. The vast majority of those were Syrians and other Middle-Easterners, as anybody who followed the “Wir Schaffen das” moments can attest.

    http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thum-merkel-refugee.jpg

    “Of the 6,000 migrants estimated to be living in the Jungle and Jules Ferry Centre, the largest group were found to be from Sudan, at around a third, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Eritrea and Pakistan.”

    Do you see Nigeria?

    This year, only 17,487 Nigerians have crossed the Mediterranean. We expect to accept without argument that 7x that number is in Libya?? Do you people even know what 500,000 is???

    “The information package provides detailed information on where 381,463 migrants from 38 different nationalities are in Libya. It also includes a dataset, which for the first time, provides a quantification of migrants by nationality in each location. The regions of Misrata (66,660 individuals), Tripoli (53,755 individuals), and Sebha (44,750 individuals) are reported as hosting the largest number of migrants, while the main nationalities were recorded as Egyptian, Nigerien, and Chadian.”

    NIGERIEN, NOT NIGERIAN!! 381,463 in TOTAL, not 500-700k Nigerians, haba!! I swear all Nigerians need to be made to write down just 1-1000, talk less of to 10,000 so we can learn to be careful with how we use numbers.

    https://reliefweb.int/report/libya/displacement-tracking-matrix-dtm-libya-s-migrant-report-mobility-tracking-round-8-flow

    The idea that Nigerians are there, in those numbers, is against logic and betrays a misunderstanding of the Mechanics of migration, refugees choose the closest safe place, economic migrants are usually recruited through a network and are on average richer than refugees.

    It behooves you, Sir, to resist the urge to disperse fake News. Either back up your assertion with an empirical source or resist the urge to exaggerate.

    P.S It’s a bit irritating and rather shameful how often my elders here round on the youth, didn’t Jesus talk about planks in the eye? We aren’t greedier or more stupid than your generation.

  • FrNinja

    Without the migration of skilled Nigerians to the western world during the 1980s and 1990s the country would not have received over $200 billion over the last 15 years. That remittance flow unlike oil did not end up in swiss bank accounts or Dubai houses but funded businesses, paid school fees, hospital bills and created job opportunities in the construction sector. Remittances was in fact the single largest inflow of capital to Nigeria and easily represents 5% of GDP.

    Regarding illegal migration to Europe, that many are willing to undertake the hazardous route says that there is an economic draw to making the journey. Other than the unseedy world of prostitution, Italy, Germany, UK, France, Spain are all aging societies with vast opportunities for unskilled labor. Someone has to sweep floors, carry boxes out of the warehouse, harvest tomatoes, package goods, etc, and Africans are not the only ones chancing at the opportunity. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Turks, Afghans, Indians, Pakistanis, Philippinos migrate illegally to Europe as IOM statistics show.

    But Africans are the face of the undesirable illegal migrant to Europe and the reason given will always be that they are fleeing the incompetence of African governments. Ultimately if care is not taken, that raison d’etre will eventually lead to European nations being more actively involved in choosing African leaders and governments.

  • Cheta God

    Arabs including Osama Bin Laden do not see Africans as humans. Even Moslems should realize that they regard black Moslems as second hand. Time to do a rethink

  • Joseph Nkashi

    This is a piteous situation. The quest for a better life elsewhere is an illusion with far reaching consequences.

    • Chym

      It’s not an illusion bro, tell your self the truth.

  • Pot and kettle

    Good article. Essentially this is a tale of 2 states, Nigeria and Libya, and they have one thing in common – they’re both failed states.
    Libya was caused to fail by the UN, led by the US and it’s allies, Nigeria imploded under the weight of inept leadership, corruption, tribalism and other calamities.
    Can someone take away the fiddle from Emperor Nero?

  • John Paul

    “Sandra knew there was always a chance that her clients would kill her. For three years, she was forced to work as a prostitute on the streets of Moscow, repaying a $45,000 debt to the trafficker who brought her from Nigeria”

    “There were five of them,” she recalls of one occasion. “They were brutal, they beat me up, they brought out a knife and tried to stab me.” Instead, they pushed her out of the two-story window for not submitting”

    “Often times, there were more men — 10, 15, 20 per call.”They might even kill you if you try to defend yourself… and in that process most Nigerian girls lose their life, because not every girl can withstand the pressure of 10 men.” – CNN, The sex trafficking trail from Nigeria to Europe, December 4th, 2017
    ———————————————————————————
    There are no quick fixes to this problem. But our public office holders have to stop lying to themselves and take a hard look at themselves in the mirror

    We cannot keep borrowing money to pay the salaries of useless public office holders, including an overbloated legislature, while Nigerians are literally selling themselves as slaves, over 200 years after slave trade was abolished.

    For starters, the salary and emoluments of our national assembly should be cut by 50% immediately

    With a national budget of $20 billion, it it no longer a secret that Nigerians in diaspora are the ones that haven been sustaining Nigeria, for several years now. Between 2011 and today, Nigerian-diaspora remittances into Nigeria, has been at least $20 billion, every year. Without their remittances, Nigeria would have packed up a long time ago

    But Nigeria also needs its elite, that is domiciled in Nigeria, or that made most of their money in Nigeria, to reciprocate the effort of our patriotic diaspora Nigerians, by bringing their money back to Nigeria, from Mossack Fonseca and other places

    A situation where diaspora Nigerians are sending billions into Nigeria, every year – to save our country – while Nigerians, mostly public office holders, former public office holders or those connected to them, loot our resources and send it our of Nigeria, is untenable

    We need to shift our focus from foreign investment, to local investment. Especially as foreign investment always follows local investment

    So it is time for every single person that has served in any public office in Nigeria to bring their loot back to Nigeria, to invest in sectors that will create employment for our teeming population. Including the loot they hid abroad, after their term in office ended, under the guise of some phantom lecture circuit

    Any person that loots money from Nigeria and sends the money out of Nigeria, while Nigerians are selling themselves as slaves in Europe, is a complete idiot. We need as much money as we can lay our hands on, for training our very young population, with skills that are relevant to our economy, or to start businesses to employ them

    “Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.” – Thornton Wilder

    • Uche

      This is the first time l really enjoyed your commentary and a completely agree with you.

      But you still missed the opportunity to advocate for the restructuring of Nigeria so that the addiction to looting unearned income will end and competition to survive and excel will unleash Nigeria’s untapped wealth and opportunities.

      You also missed highlighting the fact the bulk of the Diaspora remittances comes from southerners – Igbos and Yorubas!

  • samG60

    Reuben Abati, let’s not forget that the Military Intervention in Libya to remove Ghaddafi was only made possible because the Government in which you served voted for the UN resolution along with South Africa, without thinking through the disastrous consequences such a vote will have for regional stability. Without the 2 votes from Nigeria and South Africa, the resolution couldn’t have been passed.

    • Jon West

      Nigeria and South Africa voted against Ghadaffi, out of spite. He was heads and shoulders abound their leaders in competence and accomplishments and they were, like is common with most Blacks, ready to bring the roof down, in order to spite him. Now their countries can regret at leisure, like all Blacks, masters of instant gratification.

  • remm ieet

    It is amazing how Nigerians walk into the crossfire of other states while escaping thier own apocalypse. It therefore means we are all connected. If there is fire in your neighbourhood how can you sleep?
    So when America was asking for our help to kick out Ghadaffi we should have been asking them what our gain would be. After all Libya was running better than Nigeria by then. Ghadaffi s crime was his refusal to open up Libya. Although Nigeria was opened up, there was nothing for the people who still trooped out illegally anyway.
    This kind of ugly situation is what states like North Korea dread, that made them to take their destiny into thier hands.
    Just like Kim Jung un only one Nigerian is all we need to make Nigerians in high and low places love their country. America exports its values, Nigeria exports illegal migrants.

  • Don Franco

    Dear Reuben:

    I hope in the name of God and all that is holy that you too haven’t shackled yourself with the bounds of cowardice; by failing to make the nexus, in this article, between President Buhari and the APC’s oppressive governance and the mass exodus of educated youth out of Nigeria in the last thirty months. Young people would rather perish in the desert sands of the Sahara or drown in the Mediterranean than remain in our hellish Lugardian contraption. It’s impossible for anybody to take ownership of a Zoo, where the Zookeeper encourage herdsmen to depopulate the Middle and Southern fringes as a matter of routine; and also endorses the genocide of unarmed youth and defenceless women and children as a matter of policy.

    Whether you admit it or not, Reuben, there’s an inextricable connection between the intense vicissitudes that is responsible for preference for a desert odyssey over a lifetime of agony under tribal-Islamic domination; quota system, Federal Character, forced One-Nigeria, resistance to restructuring and devolution of power, nepotism and northern domination of the armed and civil services.

    That we’re not one people, and do not share a common destiny was amply demonstrated by the total absence of any Nigerian official from our Embassy in Italy, during the funeral of the 26 Nigerian females that drowned in the Mediterranean. Social media is abuzz with churches and civil society organizations sending money and aircraft for repatriation of these broken victims, but have you heard anything from the mosques or the core-north states? As far as they’re concerned, this whole debacle of being raped and enslaved by their co-religionists in Libya, is the just desserts of Southern Christians, lusting after western values and lifestyle. I recall that at Our Lady of Divine Mercy Church, Lekki; we have dedicated offering for Boko Haram victims.

    Only the economic benefits that will ensue from restructuring Nigeria into a confederacy will ebb the flow of young people towards Libya, until then give me freedom or give me death.

    • Iskacountryman

      don franco…the last time abati made the connection…he ended up in the gulag, wearing a t shirt and sleeping in the same room with ffk…leave the boy alone…he has learnt his lessons…

      • Don Franco

        Dear Iska,

        For the first and last time, I hope; I’m sad to agree with you.

        • Iskacountryman

          i would talk to your state commissioner for happiness to see what we could do about your sadness…

          • obinnna77

            Ha ha

          • Iskacountryman

            i cannot understand why eboes are so shortsighted…and cannot see beyond the nomenclature….is there a government on earth that does not provide social welfare?what does the provision of social welfare do?…makes citizens happy and contented…nigeria has a ministry for women affairs to make our women happy…in kano we marry wives for our citizens to make them happy…eboes are too uptight and okoroacha recognises this, and borrowing a leaf from his fellow eboe in cross river state who talked of kinetic crystallisation…okoroacha being a simple man, created a ministry and named it something everyone would understand…happiness and coupling…why are you guys complaining?

      • onyema22ohaka

        Once again I agree with your almagiri disposition!

        • Iskacountryman

          i am beginning not to like your agreeing with me…

    • Fidelis A.

      Dear Don,

      I will go for freedom. Lol. This country will be restructured, it’s no longer a matter of how, but a matter of when. The petroleum freebies is fast running out, we are now borrowing to pay salaries. The crude oil budget benchmark can no longer feed the over one hundred and eighty million citizens, as Alex otti demonstrated yesterday. Time is now of essence for a full restructuring of Nigeria.

      • Don Franco

        Greetings, Fidel!
        At some point, you’re gonna realize that they that seek to save their lives will lose it…
        Since the Dullard’s cowardly kidnap and murder of Ohamadike in September, haven’t the word “Restructuring” disappeared from the lexicon of political discourse in Nigeria? Do you even hear Atiku utter that word since his defection?
        It’s only congenital optimists, like yourself that believe that restructuring will happen; realists know that hell will have to freeze over first b4 the Certificateless One; or El Rufai, as representatives of the hegemonic north will agree to restructuring.
        Fidel, can you complete the Crossword Puzzle with words like?
        PuloShield; CrocodileTears; PytonDance; KillAndGoCarryGo; NNPCMaikanti, $30Billion; DemoteKachikwu; FrontierEnergy; SokotoMaiduguriBauchi; etc. .. It spells, No and Not ever to restructuring. Dream on.

        • Fidelis A.

          Dear Don,

          Please stop this Nnamdi Kanu’s revisions and whatsoever title you deemed well to befit him with. He is in the United Kingdom with his parents enjoying the benefits of his struggle paid to him by the Nigerian government. And yes, he was paid off. You already know where I stand on this and you continue to taunt me with it. So don’t give me that crap of kidnapping or whatsoever.

          To the matter at hand, I will continue to dream on, because there is a dream that was Rome. In my life time, Nigeria will be restructured either through a peaceful means or in a chaotic atmosphere. Since we enjoy chaos so much against orderliness, it will eventually force everyone to the negotiating table. Watch out for the next doctrine of necessity.

          • Uche

            ‘In my life time, Nigeria will be restructured either through a peaceful means or in a chaotic atmosphere”

            I am curious. How old are you?

            (1) Under 30
            (2) 30-40
            (3) 41-50
            (4) Above 50

    • Jon West

      Death is a form of freedom. However, how and what you you die for, determines the nobility or its absence, of your existence.

  • Thompson Iyeye

    The penchant for the United States and her western allies to effect regime change of governments they do not like, has resulted in countless unnecessary deaths and human sufferings, in modern times. What makes it even more unfortunate is that such regime changes are pursued in the guise of some spurious moral justification, which in themselves expose the double standards the US.

    The Libya case as described in this article was classic. Ghadaffi was a dictator, but his country was stable and relatively prosperous. Before Libya, it was Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator, but again Iraq was prosperous and stable, before the punishing economic sanctions imposed by the west, which was a prelude to the invasion of the country. Today, Iraq is still a mess.

    The double standards of the west is exposed by the fact that the same dictator Saddam Hussein was courted by the US and used to attack Iran, in her bid for revenge for the 1979 holding of 52 Americans hostages, for 444 days. The US which loudly condemned the use of chemical weapons, readily supplied Saddam Hussein the same chemical weapons to obliterate Iranian soldiers. That war was fought to stalemate without victory by either side. At that point Iraq and Saddam had perhaps outlived their usefulness, in the eyes of the US.

    A country that has an infamous history of supporting dictators like the Shah of Iran, Marcos of the Phillipines, Batista of Cuba, Samoza of Nicaragua, Noriega of Panama, Park of South Korea, Zia ul Haq of Pakistan, Nassar and Mubarak of Egypt, Pinochet of Chile, and many many more, has no moral right to bring about regime change in other countries, with the excuse that such countries are run by dictators.

    This is by no means a support for the abhorrent ways of dictators who deny their citizen human rights. However, human rights can only come after eradication of hunger and provision of social amenities in the hierarchy of needs, as boldly exemplified by the China experience. A hungry man will choose to eat first, before demanding his rights.

  • American Abroad

    Sir: Once again, we part ways, both philosophically and experientially.

    Migration, the impetus to seek “higher ground”, a better life, more opportunities, greener pastures (even if the “fuzz” won’t let you smoke the grass in peace), a closer approximation to a life of meaning or consequence (whatever that might personally mean to you), is part of our aspirational template, intrinsic to what makes us uniquely human. Your searchlight is misdirected, your emphasis is outrageously misinformed. To try to keep young, adventurous, ambitious, Nigerians bottled-up within Nigeria is as futile as Canute attempting to roll back the waves, or perhaps more appropriately, as silly as the vain attempts by a certifiably brain-dead government to stop the importation of toothpicks! Most of the young will only die trying.

    The proper question is why the majority of Nigerian youth would risk everything- family, comfort, parental love, childhood memories, familiarity, limb and life- in a quest to flee their own country, hitched only to a dream and inevitable disaster? Who made this country such a dreadful place in the first instance, that hordes of the same demographic that would salvage it are deserting a sinking ship in droves? Sir, your citizens, those you would seek to lead in a Hell-on-Earth, are emphatically voting with their feet: sadly, as one who has an unrequited love affair with my country of birth, I would say her citizens are indicating in unison, that they have also come around to that disturbing Jon West apophthegm, “To Hell with Nigeria!”

    Having no shame, we are once more readying for a qualitative encore of 2015 come 2019, this time pitting the unelectable against the unedifying: one with blood on his hands (to say nothing of air in his brain), the other with stolen goods in his pockets (again, to say nothing of bullshit on his lips). At least, we can take cold comfort in the fact that our young have much better taste.

    Good for them.

    • Toby

      The one with blood in his hands also have stolen goods in his babanriga. He pretends and protects his friends who also have stolen goods in their pockets.

    • Daniel Obior

      One could not agree more that the bad governments in the country over the years have been responsible for the migration, the dangers of the route not withstanding. But knowing what we know about the harrowing experiences of those embarking of these journeys, one would equally feel these young ones are misguided, given the risks they are taking. Is the loss of their lives worth all the gold at the other end of the Mediterranean? The culpability goes round; the country and also the adventurers.

      • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

        We the educated, exposed and consumers of news of regional dangers maybe acutely aware of the problems of migrating to Europe through the unforgiving desert, but AA is right.

        The those young Nigerians who have been robbed of HOPE, all die na die.

        This problem will not be solved because we place posters everywhere and tell young people not to do it. Young Nigerians are indeed voting with their feet after all here in Nigeria, young people are not receiving education, they go hungry, they are raped and sold into slavery some into the posh mansions you see on the island in Lagos and other enclaves of the rich up and down the country.

        Libya is bad. Nigeria is only marginally better! If you are a girl child, what is the difference between Libya and parts of the NE of Nigeria.

        All die na die!!

        • Jon West

          All die na die? Perhaps. It would really have made sense, if the youth, who are willing to die in search of a mirage of opportunity and wealth without work, could direct their angst and venom to their real traducers in Nigeria and Africa.
          Perhaps a reenactment of the French revolutionary storming of the Gates of the Bastilles of the Nigerian National Assembly, the Government Houses and ministries ,where their futures are mortgaged by the elders. But these youth really do not want change, they mostly want to become the players of corruption instead. That is why they prefer to risk the Sahara an the wicke sea, looking for El Dorado , instead of changing their local circumstances. To hell with Nigeria!!

          • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

            Sir,

            There are many responses to the hell of Nigeria.

            And if you think about it, they are all happening simultaneously. Escapes to the desert, pockets of uprising against civil authority, suicides, kidnappings, robberies, ethnic strife, violence against each other etc etc.

            Only history records revolutions as one time events. I believe that this revolution is already occurring in Nigeria.

            I keep reminding you sir, you cannot say to hell with Nigeria when we are already there.

          • Jon West

            You got me there again. When you are in a hole, stop digging. This country is not rich by any standards, but it has enough resources to jump-start an economic revival of sorts. However, the people are too petty, consumed by petty envy, to see the way out of this not really insurmountable imbroglio.

            Let those who have proven that they can turn unfavorable circumstances and businesses around be allowed to Revive and change the trajectory of the dead business that is Nigeria. Failing that, let the youth and their elders perish in ignorance, hunger and disease. Perhaps the foregoing plagues will help Concentrate their minds on the way forward. Other peoples have done the same and survived or did not and died. The choice is ours, especially the imbecile, Pentecostal and Islamic Fundamentalist corrupted youth.

      • Jon West

        The culpability goes round; the country and also the adventurers. You have nailed it once again. I had the misfortune(or perhaps good fortune) of interacting with these young denizens of the Nigerian disaster many times in my frequent trips to Europe and Asia while at work.

        I met an Igbo boy in Madrid , Spain, selling newspapers at a street corner and obviously famished and unkept. On further inquiry, he told a story of Black stupidity that is really the crux of this latest imbroglio. He sold his business in Aba and his car and paid a trafficker $6,000 to take him to Europe via Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. He escaped death by the whiskers and found his way toSpain and a life of suffering. My only question was “Why did you sell your business, a small fortune in Nigeria, in order to come to Spain and become a newspaper vendor, a job you would never do in Aba? He agreed that it was ignorance and greed that did him in.

        Fast forward to the port of La Specia, Italy at night, the whole area is flooded with near naked Black girls selling their bodies in the greatest show of shame for the Black race in this era. Again, I accosted one of these things in human form and the story was a rehash of the Madrid encounter. The Edo girl, an affront to Idia femininity and decency, also sold her possessions and borrowed money, in order to come to Italy to disgrace Nigerian and Black womanhood. I was constrained to ask this really presentable girl why she had to sell her belongings and take the risks of the early Sahara crossing , followe by the sea crossing, in order to come to Italy to sell her body for the near equivalent(when all costs are balanced out) of doing the same on the streets of Benin, Abuja or Lagos .

        Bottom line, yes the state is mostly responsible for this current disgrace of the African because of its failure to take care of the need of the citizenry, but much of the blame should also go to the mega greed and ignorance of the Nigerian and African youth. I have come to the conclusion that Nigeria and Africa are the only places on earth, where the poor man is greedier than the rich. All these risks and losses of both lives and human dignity are predicated on the desire to go to a place where there is wealth without work, a predeliction enhanced and fed by Pentecostal Christianity of prosperity without work preached by Adeboye, Oyedepo, Ashimolowo, Okonkwo, Adefarasin , Yemi Osinbajo (the VP) and the hordes of criminals that pervade the religious firmament in the blighted and failed state of Nigeria.

        The chicken have come home to roost and we are harvesting the grapes of wrath. The fraud that the British created and the military sustained has now burst at the seams of its hypocrisies. To hell with Nigeria!!

        • Fowad

          The youth are escaping because they did not see the elders before them do anything about Nigeria. The people you want them to go and fight to a standstill buy weapons from the countries they are running to.
          The problem with Nigeria is that we want others to fight while we enjoy life.
          No nation is built where some are working hard and others siddon and look. The local and international forces we are up against are armed to the teeth

          • Jon West

            I have fought my own fights in Biafra, at work and these Backpages. Let those who suffer because of the Nigerian reality also suffer and if necessary die for their ideas like the Biafrans, June 12, IPOB and other unfortunate peoples have done,in order to affirm their humanity and dignity. Until then, let them suffer and die in the Sahara, Mediterranean and other hell holes of the current reality. To hell with Nigeria!!

          • Hah!

            Hahaha! Hear the Western Jon again “I have fought my own fights in Biafra at work and these backpages” REALLY??? Mere bravado from inner bedroom.

          • Jon West

            Not mere bravado, but real physical and mental wounds of war. Let the young people pay a heavy price for their future. I have personally paid my dues and the youth need to buckle up or suffer the consequences of inaction. However, first of all, they have to eschew Pentecostalism and Islamic Fundamentalism. Look around the world and you see the youth taking thier future in their hans.There is no free lunch, even in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Spain. You want change, then you fight and die for it or suffer the status quo.

          • chris I

            “… You want change, then you fight and die for it or suffer the status quo.”
            WORD!!!

        • “Korede

          “All these risks and losses of both lives and human dignity are predicated on the desire to go to a place where there is wealth without work, a predeliction enhanced and fed by Pentecostal Christianity of prosperity without work preached by Adeboye, Oyedepo, Ashimolowo, Okonkwo, Adefarasin , Yemi Osinbajo (the VP) and the hordes of criminals that pervade the religious firmament in the blighted and failed state of Nigeria.”

          Has nobody told you not talk ill of the anointed men of God? I guess that is a quote from the book. LOL

          Lack of sound education is responsible for it on the part of the youths but I won’t discount the failures of several government of this country as a major factor.

        • Country man

          Dear Jon west,
          You points nailed it here. The greed of the average Nigerian and African youth is quite unimaginable.
          Everyone wants big money without any hard work just like their politicians, to show off and act like the big man before friends, acquaintances, etc.
          Throw in the imbecilic pastors fanning their drive and you have the perfect recipe for Nigeria.
          The northern oligarchy can continue to delude themselves the present system is favouring them.
          Till maybe oil crashes to $10 per barrel and everybody is FORCED back to the negotiating table, their is no way out for this country. It’s on a one way street to perdition.

        • ayo

          I completely agree with you on this . We are our own greatest problem . During the slave trade era we aided slave traders to sell our own . We always put what we want above what is right and uts across a lot of Nigerians regardless of social or economic status. Is it not sad that despite the fact that we all know the fault lines in the amalgamation of our country , we still cannot come together and resolve it . Our moral system is powered completely by self interest and we continually sabotage ourselves on the long run.

          I enjoyed your write up . Thanks for the perspetive.

        • FrNinja

          For every famished newspaper seller and street prostitute, the draw for many illegal migrants is economic CERTAINTY. Europe provides opportunity for a steady income and a quality life. Those cleaners at British train stations, warehouse clerks go home with a salary that offers enough for food, housing and the basics of life.

          Meanwhile the dirty secret of the African state is that it lacks a real developmental agenda. The African state is content to live off western trade links and sustain a tiny formal sector made up of friends and family to make belief that it is a modern nation. Outside the capital of many so-called African nations, uplifting the life of the average African serf is barely of interest or priority. Such that such obvious areas of employment as using surplus African labor to lay water lines, sewage systems or lay roads and rail like England in its era of high population growth is abandoned in favor of contracts to western companies and their associated kickbacks (aka commissions). And without infrastructure, factories are about as feasible as planting vegetables on rocky soil. So the trade sector dominates and attempts at import substitution or “localization” become opportunities for the elite to capture areas of the economy for themselves. Such as Nigeria with its cement policies, power privatization and banking. All general failures.

          • Jon West

            Now you are talking. The Black Man has no sense. He doesn’t know how the world works, he never built anything. He has, by his physical and mental characteristics, condemned himself to servitude to all the other races. Sad but true.

          • FrNinja

            Talking about neo-colonialism not black racial theories. The problem with African states has always been about the failure (not the ability) of its leadership to forge an independent path of development. Whereas the response of South Korea or Singaporean or Japanese leadership to engagement with the west has been localizing knowledge and production to create Toyota, Samsung, Temasek what are the African elite doing? They are lazy bums busy rigging import licenses and capital to themselves and popping imported champagne bottles in celebration.

            Nigeria has always great entrepreneurs but with government officials sitting at ports either importing or collecting bribes so we live with 7 year old rice from vietnam and Thailand rather than exporting quality rice, our people wear imported used clothes like Oliver Twist rather than manufacturing clothes for export like Bangladesh and it has now even reached the stage where even maintaining refineries is clearly beyond the fantastically corrupt Nigerian state allowing Otedola, Dantata, Tinubu to make money importing fuel from outside the shores.

            The Nigerian leader is clearly a lazy and greedy monkey.

    • Fidelis A.

      Very apt analysis. Thank you.

    • Olufemi Bello

      Thank you

    • Jon West

      The real problem is some people’s fixation with the unearned income from other people’s oil resources. They are therefore blinded to the choice befor them, now as in 2015; a choice between Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Abati and his gang of Afonja pay-as-you- go journalists , are partly responsible for this malaise and also profit from it.
      That is why they blow hot and cold on the idea of a restructured and fiscally/politically just Federation, because their political paymasters are frightened to death of the reality of the withdrawal of their greedy and evil snouts from the oil and gas feeding trough. To hell with Nigeria!!

    • Country man

      Dear AA,
      Nigeria is headed for an “encore” of 2015 come 2019 in its politics for the simple reason that politics in our clime is all enjoyment with no work. That is why the same political actors continue to turn up (who does not like freebies).
      A teeming youth and population who should come out in mass like the Arab springs and demand the right thing, would rather move out to the Sahara, with the hope that they can make it, come back and behave like the politicians, showing off wealth.

      The virus in our system presently is pervasive and till the system is formatted, we are on a one way street to perdition

    • Darcy

      “The proper question is why the majority of Nigerian youth ”

      NOT the majority. By all estimations Nigerians below the age of 40 are more than 100 million, do you see 1 million crossing the desert? 500,000??

      • American Abroad

        My dear Darcy:
        I believe you missed the most important word, which happens to be the very next word, in that sentence you excerpted above. That word is “would”. I used that modal verb “would” as future tense, implying that if all Nigerian youth (by the way, I only term those under 25 years as youth, but little matter) had the opportunity (by virtue of education, connexions, visa possession, knowledge, energy, disposable income, education, even aptitude) to escape the horrors of Nigeria, at least 51% would. In fact, reading you somewhat closely, I would bet you would, too. Therefore, that number would be, I imagine, about 80 million souls. On that basis, I’m afraid my original conjecture still remains inviolate.

        • Darcy

          I would not, my disdain at the cultural excesses of the West outweigh Economic calculations. Besides, every educated black person that ives up on Africa is one more piece of ammunition for the White and increasingly Asian supremacists.

          That equation could be used for other countries and many would fail (How many Russians, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans e.t.c wouldn’t take it?). I prefer to stick to the things that are. The fact is that at present, the majority of Nigerian youth are in Nigeria.

          The diaspora often projects their Weltanschauung to the rest of us. Just because you left doesn’t mean everyone will or wants too.