19th May, 2014
By Femi G. Oguntoyinbo
Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, seems to be the centre of world attention when it comes to irregular migration and human security-related issues. The question that comes to mind at this point is: How long will it take, for Africa to attain the noble height that will make it the envy of the world?
This article is sequel to the earlier one I wrote about the same issue (Better Life in Europe: How Feasible?). The article was published by Eagle reporters (www.eaglereporters.com) on May 3, 2014 and by P.M.NEWS Nigeria (www.pmnewsnigeria.com) on May 5, 2014.
The mass migration of many young men and women, as well as their aged counterpart from Africa to Europe in search of greener pasture or better condition of living could not be dissociated from human security and ‘social contract’-related issues.
According to Professor Akin L. Mabogunje, in a conference paper, titled: ‘Perspectives on the Concept of Human Security’, human security is concerned with “safeguarding the vital core of all human lives from critical and pervasive threat in a way that is consistent with long-term human fulfilment”.
It must be noted that human security and ‘social contract’ interrelate, and directly, they affect good governance. That is why human security is seen as a universal and holistic approach to policy making and analysis. Where social contract (a mutually beneficial agreement between the state and the citizens) is practiced to the letter, human security will not be our bugbear in Africa.
From the conference proceedings that I was able to read, the main focus on human security in Africa centres on: education, agriculture, health and cultural preservation. On these crucial socio-economic phenomena lie the economic success and prosperity of every nation. And judging by the international organization’s assessment of Africa, using these human index parameters, many African countries have been lagging behind since their independence.
On education, Professor Michael Omolewa has this to say in his paper titled, ‘Human Security in the African Context: The Education Imperative’:
“… There are confirmations of their views by the authoritative UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Reports, which indicate that most of the countries in Africa are unlikely to achieve the Education For All (EFA) goals agreed upon by the international community in Dakar in April 2000.”
Education liberates the mind. Education imbues in one, an analytical mind, which is essential for thinking, reasoning and problem-solving. I agree with Professor Omolewa’s submission that the standard of education in Africa has been compromised by the questionable reading and writing skills of those pronounced literate. From personal experience, my encounters with some so-called graduates of higher institutions of learning in Nigeria corroborate Omolewa’s submission. There are also media reports of graduates who could not spell simple English words correctly, or who could not defend the certificates they are holding.
On other parameters used in judging human development index, reports by international organizations, such as World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, FAO and other agencies of the United Nations, as well as international human rights organizations/observers do not put Africa in an enviable position.
According to a school of thought, migration is a consequence of human security. This position clearly explains why irregular migration from Central and sub-Saharan Africa continues unabated.
According to Adil Akkid of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, “as long as there is such a big difference in wealth and there are problems in Africa, there will always be immigration”. (The Guardian, April 23, 2014). Akkid’s position on irregular migration gives credence to my stance on human security angle to irregular migration
Thus, irregular migration is more or less, a global phenomenon, which demands international collaboration. More so, African leaders need to rise up to the challenges posed by human insecurity. International aids being granted to Africa should be effectively utilized to combat illiteracy, health-related and other pertinent human security problems. And this should be done in a way that is consistent with long term human goals.
God bless Africa!
•Oguntoyinbo is author of A Log of Wood: An X-ray of Security Network in Nigeria) and wrote from Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. E-mail: [email protected]