The Need to Check the Recurring Deaths of African Youths in the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert
It is no longer news that young Africans who are escaping from their countries, to Europe and other continents drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. A few months ago 300 young Africans were reported to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. Three weeks later another two hundred also perished near the Island of Malta. Recently, bodies of seventy-one others were found in a lorry in Austria while some two hundred other were feared dead after two boats sank, off the coast of Libya. The Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Ban KiMoon has called for a collective response to avert what he called a crisis of solidarity.
Some of the escaping young Africans go through the Sahara Desert on foot to North Africa, Algeria to Libya and by boat to Spain or Italy as illegal migrants. Some who succeeded in escaping tell horrifying stories of their experiences. While going through the desert. When their drinking water finishes they resort to drinking their urine just to survive. Some die of dehydration harsh weather, hunger and attack by wild animals. Those who want to leave their country through the normal way spend years going to foreign embassies in their country where they are humiliated in the process of getting visa. We now hear testimonies in some Churches of some people who have been looking for Visa for years to travel abroad and how God finally granted them Visa to a country in Europe or America. We also hear stories of how unscrupulous pastors give fraudulent prophecies of how members of their congregation will get Visa to Dubai or any other country.
The question is why would an African graduate whose parents have spent quite a fortune to train, want to leave his country to Europe, America or any other continent, where he or she will be enslaved or die in the Mediterranean Sea or Sahara Desert, in the process of escaping from his country? The answer is contained in the December 31 1983 Coup d’etat speech of late Brigadier Sani Abacha, we quote “Our country has been hopelessly mismanaged. We have been turned to a beggarly and debtor nation. Our hospitals have been reduced to mere consulting clinics without water and drugs. Yet our leaders remain in squandamenia” end of quote. In other words maladministration begets corruption which begets exploitation of the masses. These are the bane of Africa as a continent. The selfishness of African leaders is so abnormal that anyone who gets into office of the President of any African Country will want to remain there forever. President Robert Mugabe of Zibabwe who is still in power at over ninety and Muammar Gadaffi of Libya who died in office after forty two years are typical examples.
Corruption is now a way of life in Africa. There is no serious commitment by African countries to fight corruption. A few people in government amass wealth for themselves and their family members and Lord it over the majority. The way they exhibit their ill- gotten wealth is so annoying that youths resort to making money at all costs. Prostitution, pimping, brigandage cultism, ritual murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and other satanic ways to make it, while some sick and tired of the system resort to getting out of Africa illegally and dying in the process.
The leaders who are perpetrators of this bad governance insist they are the best things that have happened to Africa, in terms of leadership. Some citizens who are exploited and deprived of their country’s national cake take up arms to fight for their rights. That is why there is war in Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, and Eritrea while there are squabbles in Egypt, Libya, Niger, Senegal, Somalia and of course the Dreaded Boko Haram that has been terrorizing the North East of Nigeria. There is uneasy calm in some African countries as corruption: Mal-administration and war ravage the continent.
It is high time African leaders braced up to the challenge of giving positive leadership that would not only transform the continent but also restore the confidence of the led. They should be seriously committed to the fight against corruption and not pretending to be fighting it. There should be equitable distribution of the National Cake to the Satisfaction of all while the youths should be integrated in the scheme of things in the governance of African countries. If this is done, it will reduce the incident of African Youths migrants dying in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Desert.
Mr. Mbajunwa wrote from Owerri Imo State