By Ben Adoga
No fewer than 2, 400 illegal Nigerian migrants died in 2017 in their bid to seek greener pastures in Europe through illegal routes in the Sahara Desert, Libya and other North African countries.
This revelation was made on Monday in Abuja by the Secretary of Social Development Secretariat of the Federal capital Territory (FCT, Alhaji Oladimeji Ali Hassan, at a sensitisation workshop for youths against embarking on the dangerous illegal trip to Europe.
Hassan said that the survivors are a�?forced into forced labour, abducted, abused and sold from one smuggler to another.a�?
However, the FCT was praised because none of its residents was involved in the illegal ring.
a�?It must be pointed out here though that recent data on Libya returnees showed that the FCT, unlike some states of the federation, does not have any returnee,a�? Hassan stated.
He regretted that some of the travellers pay N450, 000 to the human traffickers for the trip that may cost their lives, noting that if the amount was used properly, a viable business can be set up in Nigeria.a�?
The SDS chief therefore appealed to government agencies and non-governmental organisations to organise sensitisation programme to educate the citizens, especially the youths on the dangers of embarking on such illegal foreign trips.
At the workshop, the Director, Youth Development Department of the SDS, Ereodichukwu Anulunko, advised the youths to look inwards as Nigeria is full of limitless opportunities.
He asked them to emulate achievers such as Alexander Grahambell, an Englishman, who invented the telephone at age 29 in 1642, Blaise Psacal of France, who invented the Mathematical calculator at age 19 and Mark Zuckeberg, an American, who created Facebook at age 23 in 2004. Back home he mentioned former ace footballer, Kanu Nwankwo, and global scientist, Phillip Emeagwali, who set records in their prime.
Anulunko also urged them not to waste their talents in the bid to seek greener pastures in Europe as they can do better at home.
In his contribution, the Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah Donly, said that the streets of Europe are not paved with gold as erroneously perceived.
She said that a�?the hardship in Nigeria will not endure for too long, we must not continue to waste our brightest and our best. Many have died on the way to Europe through Libya.a�?
By Ben Adoga