The horrifying reports brought to light by the CNN film crew who secretly filmed actions of humans being auctioned as a slave in Libya two weeks ago has created an uproar globally; causing shocks and condemnations. Majority of the slaves are Sub-Saharan Africans.
As much as this is a human rights crisis deserving of global attention, beneath the surface and most importantly, is the underlining migration problem plaguing most of Sub-Saharan Africa. Howbeit, popular opinion and politically correct perspectives of blaming the international community for evading international responsibilities and commitment to international laws drive this narrative.
For many Africans, the autopilot response is a sweeping generality that the West owes us something, has for years created this learned helplessness and a certain level of entitlement. For the most part, this has made Africans fail to hold their government accountable.
It is for this same reason that Nigeria handled the death of young Nigerian girls who died at the Mediterranean Sea while trying to migrate to Europe in search of the better life with such nonchalance and indifference; like their lives meant nothing. For decades African leaders have been irresponsible and inciting their people to look to the West often for a solution to problems that they as a government should solve.
That is the reason why many African leaders are silent on addressing these steep issues that are deserving of worthy attention that should be pioneered by them, African leaders. But, the reserve is the case across all affected Sub-Saharan nations; these leaders are dead silent.
While we are at this, let’s not forget the unpopular stories of the Nigerian women slaves in Libya whose slave owners are fellow Nigerians who abuse the desperation of citizens who want to seek a better life in Europe, illegally, the nearest and most convenient route in Libya. Let’s not forget the little African girl trafficked for prostitution in Libya under the disguises of a better life in Europe or getting a job elsewhere. Let us not also forget the many Africans who die of dehydration in the Moroccan desert while trying to cross over to Spain.
Think about this for a second, do you think a Congolese will willingly with the availability of alternative possibilities leave Congo on the journey to Europe through Libya? Will a Nigerian medical doctor who is paid a decent salary and regularly by the government migrate to the UAE or Saudi Arabia to practice? Why should IOM pay ransoms for the Africans to be freed in Libya to return to their countries?
The answers to these questions are the reason why Nigeria like many African leaders fails to address these issues. Yes, they know why Africans would risk their lives for the possibility of the unknown in a strange land. Many of these Africans are aware of the hardship fellow Africans face on the streets of Europe but still see it as a better alternative than the sense of helplessness that is their realities in their respective countries.
Silence and or indifference is the best response of African leaders to these issues because for them it easier than looking at it from a practical perspective. Are things that hard that citizens are taking these sorts of risk? Of course, yes, but our leaders ignore it because addressing these will force them to face the reality of the bloated cost of running the government in comparison to how much they budget and spend on education, healthcare, opening up the economy to accommodate small businesses which is the main driver of most African economies and human development.
For example, the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) 2018 budgeted eight million Naira out of its 2018 four billion Naira on research for the entire year, while eighty-five million Naira was budgeted for the purchase of cars for the commission’s secretariat in Abuja. What is the rationale for this of budgeting? Why are we spending less on human development and expecting anything good to come out of this country?
The Washington post recently condemned the Italian government desperate attempt to keep the migrant’s numbers low by paying Libyan traffickers more money to keep them from allowing migrants crossover. Although this is wrong, the Italian government is just trying to protect itself; refugees and illegal migration cost these countries a fortune.
But this is often disregarded like it does not matter, yet African government blame everyone else but themselves.
President Alpha Conde of Guinea criticized the European policy that allows migrants to be sent back to Libya where they came from saying “Our European friends are wrong for asking Libya to keep immigrants in detention.
As Africans, we are failing our future by refusing to come to the realization that, these countries owe us nothing and that our governments are solely responsible for the ongoing slave trade in Libya and the death of many who die at the Mediterranean Sea.
Blaming the world, then Libya is a futile exercise that cannot solve the fundamental issues beneath the surface these horrible situations.
Libya is a weak and failed nation that cannot even protect and provide for Libyans, it is, therefore, unnecessary for the West and Africans to expect any better from them. And the West should consider alternative ways of returning Migrants to their countries, as using Libya as a dumping ground for these migrants is wrong on their part.