#Article (Archive)

Youth Forum: Stop our youths from taking dangerous ‘back way’ to Europe

Mar 10, 2015, 10:02 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

We have in this edition a story about the government in Niger, which some months ago, moved to close safe houses for illegal migrants using the territory to travel through North Africa to Europe; and still many are brave enough to use the same dangerous trend.

It is clear that the situation would now become more hazardous for young people who use the “back way” to Europe,especially as this cold season has cause loss of life for many young people, as they will be exposed to great hardship should they arrive in Niger at this time, when the government is taking such action.

The worst of all is that the sea they use to Italy or Spain is now getting colder, which is very hard for the boats sailing on thick snow, but still many are willing enough to take this dangerous way.

Believing that those who embark on such risky journeys should first make findings about the current situation, before departing, so as to know whether it is propitious to do so now, we feel they ought to have this piece of information.

It is in this regard that we publish the report on the latest developments about travelling through the “back way”, as an update for the information of young Gambians who may decide to go on the perilous journey through Mali and, finally, into Niger as the main stopping point for many illegal migrants, and where many also get stranded.

And the worst thing is that when they get stranded at Niger, a good number of them have to come back after spending thousands of Dalasis; money that can take care of the family for at least 6 months feeding. This is serious and worrisome and the authorities need to do something about it.

This related commentary is to advise them to beware that they will be taking a great risk, should they embark on this overland trek, as they would be wasting their money and risking limb and life by going through the “back way” right now.

It is always saddening to hear that a young man in the neighbourhood has disappeared, and has obviously left for the “back way”, leaving their mothers and other family members to worry and live in anxiety.

Unlike before when it was done in secret, nowadays young people talk openly about their desire to go through the “back way”, including on the FM radio station programmes.

One could tell from what you hear in the society that our young men are under a lot of pressure these days to do something “to make it”, and that peer pressure is one of the factors heavily at work.

The boys one was moving with or almost all the vous boys have left, and being a man one must follow suit.

Indeed, this is the thinking now, this is the quite common trend now!

Apart from its duty to protect citizens from harm, including from harming themselves, the Gambian state now has in place laws which prohibit trafficking in humans, as well as agreements and understandings we have with our European partners, such as Spain, to prevent “back way” attempts to enter Europe.

We want to call on the Gambian state to continue to be alert, so as to ensure that the immigration, police and related services continue to stop all attempts to go through the “back way.”