Libya: We Are Guilty!


No sane mind will embark on the unpredictable journey to Libya for onward movement to Europe with all the stories of deaths and disasters on the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. Many, who risk this deadly trip of course, blame themselves for their mindless decisions when push comes to shove and they are left between "the devil and the deep sea".

Many have the opportunities of engaging in small businesses or employment here at home but they chose to seek greener pastures in Europe where they think life is a bed of roses. But sooner, that is if they succeed in landing in Europe, they discover that life isn't smooth anywhere. Some embark on this trip out of frustration. They have no jobs and live or survive on begging here in Nigeria. They take the irrational decision of "if I die, I die".

Sadly, the reality of the agony the victims of the search or hunt for good life trapped in Libya are passing through has caught up with the rest of us like a bright new day....A sad new dawn. Their pains suddenly turn our pains. Their deaths hit us hard even as they pinch us with guilt. We now ask ourselves, if things were good back home will these Nigerians trapped in Libya as slaves ever think of traveling or taking such huge risk?

When our economy was fine, when one naira was equivalent to a dollar, how many Nigerians think of traveling abroad via sane means, platforms or process? When Nigerians could afford three square meals daily, do they think of traveling abroad with the high level of desperation displayed by most of the victims trapped in Libya?

When jobs were available and workers get their salaries as at when due, do we have this large scale embarrassment cum disaster called "Nigerians as slaves in Libya?

However, we must know that Libya is just one in several other countries where Nigerians are glorified slaves.

Ironically, President Muhammadu Buhari in a recent meeting with the 36 governors of the Federation was literally begging them to pay salaries of civil servants. PMB has released in three separate tranches the Paris Fund money to governors yet civil servants are owed upto 11 months by some governors. Pensioners are left to die if hunger. Yet these same governors are preparing for re-election (second term) or to impose their godsons on the people.

In a situation whereby a pensioner has not received his/her entitlements and the eldest child in the family a civil servant (who is the breadwinner of the family and has three siblings he/she is fending for) is yet to receive his/her salary for a year, what becomes of the fate of his/her siblings? And is it not possible for any of the siblings to be lured into the deadly trip to Europe en route Libya?

It must also be noted that some of the victims of the Libyan "slave trade" are those displaced by the terror acts of Boko Haram who fled to neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon and from there they decide to move onward to other parts of the continent innocently searching for peace, security and good life....Sadly they find themselves in this ugly situation....They get trapped.

The story of the sufferings of Nigerians in Libya was not echoed today. But government chose to turn blind eyes and deaf ears to this story for reasons best known to it. Truth is that government has not been proactive to the course of saving its citizens since this Libyan crisis was more pronounced with the Arab Spring. The previous administration was slow if not silent. Truth is that it lacked the diplomatic tact in solving the problem and same fault we Andre witnessing now. 

Interestingly Cameroonian ex-international Samuel Eto'O recently and single-handedly rescued his compatriots but here we are in Nigeria playing politics and paying lip service to the plight of our compatriots dying daily in a foreign land.

Yes, they threw themselves into this problem but, we owe it as an obligation to rescue or save them. We need to be our brothers' keepers. Two wrongs don't make a right. Like I said earlier, most of these Nigerians caught in the web of the Libyan crisis and made to be slaves went on a search for better life having been frustrated by the government whose body language over the years suggests carefree when it comes to issues concerning the masses.

With governors using tax payers money to erect statues of foreign leaders yet the civil servants are unpaid what hope and future can a citizen dream of? We are guilty of the Libya situation as it concerns the sufferings of Nigerians there and the sooner we rush to the rescue of our citizens the better. No one is saying that this administration created the situation leading to exodus of Nigerians abroad but this administration can do something meaningful about it.