Jan 20, 2010, 3:43 PM
News that a total of 226 Gambian youths believed to be illegal immigrants were last Wednesday returned home from Libya has compelled us to look once again at the issue of illegal migration, as a serious cause for concern for everybody in this country.
According to the Immigration spokesperson, superintendent Ba Ensa Jawara, the would-be immigrants were returned from Libya by bus through Niger, Mali, Senegal and then to Farafenni in the North Bank Region.
From the coast of Lagos right up to the coast of Morocco, there are thousands and thousands of African youths at various stages of migrating to Europe.
This practice by our youths, seen as our future leaders, has in recent years been an all too common phenomenon that has taken its toll on life and limb of African youths including Gambians, who are resolved to reach the European mainland by all means.
How sorrowful, considering the price of the misadventure, costing many a hope-starved African youth a great deal of money, which they and their families have to raise through a variety of difficult means.
The huge amounts involved in such dangerous journeys would have helped many youths to establish small businesses, if not a big one that would benefit not only them, but the country at large.
Most African youths attribute their extreme decision to the inability of their respective countries to provide jobs or, when they could provide them, fail to guarantee the kind of remuneration at least reasonably comparable with that which can be earned in Europe.
This brings in the issue of our governments part in all this.
It is our belief that it is time for our governments to critically study the issue of illegal migration, and try to come up with possible solutions that would remedy the situation.
We cannot continue seeing our youths risking their lives in the sea on a daily basis.
More surprisingly is that most of the people involved in this trade are the youths, who our governments rely on for national development, because they are central in the development of any nation.
In any case, one thing that our youths should also understand about their dream of entering Europe is that all that glitters is not gold.
In so many cases, when people have succeeded in making it there, they find themselves in such unexpected situations that they have to lead lives of terrible poverty, and suffer shocking discrimination.
Africa has a lot of potential, and one should therefore be steadfast.
The search for greener pastures should not be pursued as a matter of life and death.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Henry David Thoreau