22nd September, 2010
The desperate means some Nigerians, especially the youths, are adopting to escape toÂ foreign lands in search of greener pastures, is worrisome. Something urgent must be doneÂ to correct the false impression that in South Africa, Europe or America, everything isÂ milk and honey.
Last Saturday, for instance, a Nigerian youth hid in the wheel-well of Arik Airâ€™sÂ aircraft in Lagos in an attempt to get to South Africa. But he never made it. He died inÂ the process and his dead body was discovered when the A330 aircraft landed in Lagos inÂ the wee hours of Monday. The plane had left South Africa on Sunday night for Lagos.
There were speculations that the deceased was helped by some security officials in LagosÂ to access the aircraftÂ before passengers boarded it and hid there until it took off.Â Pilots and aeronautical engineers familiar with the compartment were flabbergasted,Â explaining that it is roomy enough to contain a human being.
The lack of oxygen in the compartment, they said, means that anybody that hid thereÂ cannot come out alive after several hours of flight.
It was argued that the body was not discovered in Johannesburg because the airlineÂ usually does a quick turnaround back to Lagos the following day.
â€œAs we climb high, the temperature becomes low, getting below freezing level when theÂ aircraft is cruising between 35,000 to 40,000 feet above sea level. The guy probably diedÂ due to lack of oxygen,â€ an expert said. Whatever the explanation, a precious life hasÂ been lost because of desperation and ignorance. The facts are there to show that life isÂ becoming very hard in America, South Africa or Europe.
In the United States for instance, reports suggest that the ranks of the working-age poorÂ have climbed to the highest level since the 1960s due to a global recession that hasÂ thrown millions of people out of work since last year.Â Reports say the situation overÂ there is so bad that one out of seven Americans now live in poverty.
The unemployment rate in that country is now near 10 percent. The overall poverty rateÂ there has climbed to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, the U.S. Census Bureau saidÂ recently in its annual economic report. Yet, America is the place to be for deludedÂ Nigerian and African youths.
In France, the unemployment rate has reached record levels and many Europeans are dailyÂ being deported by the French authorities. The unending deportations have created someÂ frictions between France and Germany, with Germany excoriating France for being callousÂ and insensitive. In Greece, the situation became so critical that there were daily streetÂ protests. Jobs became hard to come by and ordinary Greeks were looking for food to eat.Â The country has now been bailed out and salaries have been slashed. Foreigners now findÂ it very difficult to get jobs.
In South Africa, many foreigners were attacked last year by South Africans who felt thatÂ jobs were going to foreigners. Many Nigerians were among the victims of the xenophobicÂ attacks that left many dead. Even this year, many South Africans still took to theÂ streets to show their exasperation over lack of jobs and worsening poverty.
Our youths must come to terms with the fact that life abroad is as hard as life inÂ Nigeria. And even for those who reach Europe or America and live there legally, there isÂ hardly anything they can save to justify the hard work after many years. With so manyÂ taxes and so much discrimination, it is so difficult to save money, build or buy a houseÂ and feel at home abroad. Most Nigerians abroad still feel like second-class citizens andÂ cannot reach the same level of satisfaction that they will reach in Nigeria. Whether theyÂ are government or in the private sector abroad, most of them are still discriminatedÂ against.
The solution to our problems can hardly be found abroad. In any case, a lazy man inÂ Nigeria cannot be hard working in America. We do not need to be in America to succeed. WeÂ can succeed in Nigeria. We can be happy in Nigeria. We can be fulfilled here at home ifÂ we are ready to go the extra mile.
But, it is worthy of note that Nigerian youths move to foreign lands daily because theÂ government has failed them. With the high level of insecurity and lack of basicÂ infrastructure, most people have lost faith in this country and are even ready to faceÂ hell instead of slowly dying at home. But the solution is not to leave Nigeria, rather itÂ is to fix it.
We call on the Nigerian government to wake up and do the right thing by reducingÂ insecurity in the land, fixing our healthcare, education, power sector, etc. and makingÂ Nigeria conducive again for the economy to thrive. Only then, will youths feel confidentÂ again about Nigeria and would want to stay instead of flying to unknown places and dyingÂ in the process. Instead of embarking on a trip to ignorance, they will know that they canÂ count on their government to deliver at home what the golden fleece they are scurryingÂ abroad to get.