The Oasis Reporters
September I, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned illegal migrants, that those who continue to take the risk of going through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea were on their own.
President Buhari who disclosed that over 3,000 illegal migrants stranded in Libya had been repatriated back to the country, however, assured that those who run into troubled waters and want to return home would be repatriated back home and sent to their local government areas.
The statement contrasts markedly with what he told the Nigerian community earlier in his administration in 2015 that the Nigerians in Togo should relax and pursue their legitimate businesses in the West African country because nothing much was at home for everyone.
President Buhari said this during a joint press conference at the end of bilateral talks with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“Firstly, I’m against those my countrymen and women that illegally travel to Europe. I believe you know the ECOWAS protocol encourages free movement of persons, goods and services.
“But for those going to Europe we are not, as an administration, agreeing with those who continue to defy the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean because they feel there are greener pastures there whether they are prepared for it or not. We do not support anything illegal and indiscipline.
“You must recall that about six weeks ago we repatriated about 3,000 Nigerians that were stuck in Libya on their way to Europe.
“You must have read in the papers and watched on television the number of Nigerians lost in the Mediterranean. We have made it very clear that we do not support anything illegal and anybody who feels this country does not offer him what he should be offered as a citizen and decides to defy the desert and the Mediterranean is doing it at his own risk.
“But if he is stuck somewhere in Libya between his final destination and Nigeria, we will rescue him and bring him back home and send him back to his local government”, said President Buhari.
When President Macron of France visited Ghana, he received a salient lesson from President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana why young people migrate from their various countries to other places.
It’s because their home countries are not working. The Irish once migrated to the Americas and other places, just like the Italians once did.
Nigeria currently is not working and not being made attractive to young people to stay, not with the huge loss of jobs, inability to farm in the Middle belt and in the other parts of Zamfara state for instance due to the menace of herdsmen militia menace.
These are some of the reasons why people move, to find better opportunities elsewhere or to escape deaths and destruction from the agents of wickedness in their countries.
The French President, Emmanuel Macron practically re echoed those same sentiments in his interactive session with youths in Lagos, a sign that it was lesson well learnt from Ghana.
The German Chancellor, in her remarks earlier, described Nigeria as a ‘very important country in Africa’, hence the need to maintain a good and cordial relationship.
She commended Nigeria’s success in producing food needed in the country which necessitated the important cooperation in agriculture as well as manufacturing Volkswagen cars in Nigeria.
Merkel described Nigeria as an important trading partner in Africa and a young country that is very ambitious, disclosing that her discussions with President Buhari also centered on how to address the problems of migration by providing jobs.
The Chancellor, who spoke in German, also noted the security challenges Nigeria is facing and the achievements the Buhari administration has made in tackling Boko Haram.
She said currently, 12,000 Nigerians were studying in Germany through scholarships and that her government intended to increase that number.
She also thanked President Buhari for the country’s efforts to resolve issues within the region thereby maintaining peace in the region.
On the 2019 elections, Merkel said they both discussed the importance of free and fair elections which she said would Impact positively on the nation’s youths.
For citizens of Nigeria to stop emigrating to other countries, leadership has to make the Nigerian economy more attractive. The value chain in the oil sector needs to be privatized for individuals to construct modular refineries and sell petroleum products within Nigeria’s huge market and to deemphasis importation. This will be one of many sectors where government has to relinquish control to reflate the economy under a private sector led economic growth.