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‘There is no place like home’

Jul 15, 2014, 10:03 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

There are lots of debates nowadays about African immigrants trying to enter Europe through what many call the “Back Way”.

Like many African countries, The Gambia has lost many of her valuable citizens, mainly youths, to the dangerous seas between Morocco and Spain and now Libya and Italy.

This is inevitable since at times over 350 persons would board a boat that is only supposed to carry 75 or 150 passengers, and despite the high recurrent loss of precious lives, many are still willing to brave the precarious conditions to enter into Europe through the ‘back way’, which African youths have for over the years seen as the only way to improve their livelihood.

Indeed, frequent reports of the arrival of illegal immigration in the Island of Lampedusa in Italy, Spain, Malta, respectively, highlight the fact that the practice of embarking on the perilous sea voyages or trekking across the Sahara Desert is a common phenomenon.

However, it is incomprehensible that anybody would make the huge financial investments involved in undertaking such journeys, when such resources could help the family or many a youth to establish small business ventures, and make progress and achieve prosperity at home.

They must be reminded that all that glitter is not gold!

It is worth noting though that most African youths are forced to leave their country in desperate search of greener pastures simply because they could not find suitable employment at home countries. 

One thing African youths must understand, however, is that a lot of people have a mistaken notion of life in Europe or the so-called developed world.

They must be reminded that all that glitter is not gold!

The African continent has a lot of potentials, and one should try to make it in Africa too. The search for greener pastures should not be a matter of life and death.

The Gambia National Youth Council (NYC) has issued a press release to that effect recently stating with great concern the large number of Gambian youths leaving the country to, as they say, “look for greener pasture” through ‘the back way’ on board risky and unsafe boats, trips that more often than not end in tragedy.

The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports has created numerous opportunities for youth of the country to reach their full potential, contribute to the ongoing development of The Gambia, as well as play their rightful role in the Gambian society, through initiatives like the National Enterprise Development Initiative, the Presidents’ International Award, the National Youth Service Scheme among others.

The release further adds that the National Youth Council is therefore urging the youth of this country to capitalize on the rewards provided by the productive sectors of the economy, like fisheries and agriculture, and acquire skills to power the formal sector of the economy, which are providing decent returns to thousands of non-Gambians who come to The Gambia empty-handed and gather huge sums of money which they repatriate to their countries of origin just after few years.

The release further states that the Ministry of Youth and Sport is in no uncertain terms, urging the youth of the country to stop using the back way and avoid the allure of people (smugglers) who trick them into embarking on these dangerous trips for their selfish interest.

The release also states that the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports request the support of parents caregivers and other stakeholders in stopping this menace immediately.

The Ministry of Youth and Sport and the National Youth Council (NYC) will continue to meaningfully engage stakeholders for a coordinated response and also raise public awareness on the dangers of this human tragedy among other interventions, the release concludes.