Almost four decades ago, the President of Nigeria Shehu Shagari, had issued an executive order which was directed towards immigrants in the country who did not have their proper immigration documents.
The illegal immigrants were ordered to leave the country or face arrest by the Nigerian Government as the law stipulated. This law was said to have affected more than 2 million men, women and children with majority of those affected being West Africans, Ghanaians were the bulk of the lot. The movement was termed as the “Ghana Must Go” movement.
It was almost a mirror image of what happened in 1969 when Ghana enacted the Aliens Compliance Order which sent up to hundreds of thousands of immigrants, mostly Nigerians, packing.
Shagari carried out this action due to the fact that the country was saturated with foreigners who flocked into the country as a result of the Nigerian oil boom in the 70’s. This led to the weakening of the country’s economy which was practically falling apart at that point in time.
It now however seems that the days when Nigeria used to be the country to send away illegal immigrants for disrupting the economy is be far gone. Now tables have turned, with bridges looking hopelessly burnt as Nigerians face deportation from different countries all over the world.
A report in March 2019 by the Libyan Address Journal had it that, not less than 330 Nigerians who had illegally migrated into the country were deported from the North African country.
This is just one of the many cases of deportation of Nigerians that have been reported in recent times.
When some of these Nigerians come back to the country, they tell harrowing tales of all that happened to them during their sojourn. Some talk about how they were made to become s*x slaves, yet others were made to become slaves who lived in horrible conditions under dehumanizing circumstances.
In spite of all these, it is continues to remain the dream of many Nigerians to travel out of the country in search for greener pastures, with some still headed for the exact locations where their country folks have been made to live in inhumane conditions.
Why have things become so bad? Let us first consider this.
What Went Wrong?
In about ten years after the oil boom which the country experienced in the 70’s, Nigeria began to face some serious economic problems.
These problems have continued to plague the country till date.
One of the reasons why the economy of the country fell from a lofty height was because of corruption. There have been been reports and allegations of massive corruption which have plagued the country with almost every successive government in the country, especially since after the oil boom.
A classic example is the case of former Military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, who was found out to have looted billions of Naira from the country after his death. Up till this day, funds are being recovered from the foreign bank accounts where the former Head of State stashed his loot.
Apart from Abacha, allegations of corruption have riddled almost every government after his own, with top government officials being the major culprit.
This have in no small way contributed to the embarrassing decline of the nation’s economy.
Asides that, the leaders at almost every level of government seem not to be in sync with plight of the electorates whom they are presiding over.
As a result, there is a semblance of indifference and nonchalance in the way the government rule, making conditions very difficult for the majority of the populace.
This has culminated in the fact that many Nigerians end up languishing in abject poverty, in fact, Nigeria was named as the Poverty Capital of the world by the World Poverty Clock.
There is no small wonder as to why many who are disillusioned, highly disappointed and saddened by the government overtime thus feel that there is no way for them to live a comfortable life than for them to move out of the country to seemingly saner climes.
The problem that occurs way too often with this desperation is that some are willing to do anything to get out of what they have considered to be a hell hole. That’s why many Nigerians continue to make moves to travel out of the country via illegal methods even after knowing they may be subjected to terrible conditions.
What Could Be Done About This
While it is not news that successive Nigerian governments have failed the people – and that would be putting it in nice terms, it is worthy to note that a good number of Nigerians have made a good living in the country for themselves.
Yes, the government has the number one responsibility in taking care of its citizens but at the same time, there are opportunities in the country.
It is worthy to note that some spend a huge amount of money to process their documents to trave out of the country. There are even reports of some who had sold most of their belongings just to leave the country but have instead had their hopes shattered, though some were successful in this quest.
Here, a big question needs to be asked. Why not invest in the economy with these funds? Why not try to make research on their area of interest and open up a business in which having a great understanding would help to boost its chances?
Many have taken this approach and it has worked for them.
Now, it is not a bad idea to want to travel out of the country for economic benefits. But it is in the best interest of everyone if this can be done in a proper manner.
This is where the issue of desperation comes in. Many Nigerians need to start trying to improve their thoughts process, when it comes to what they actually make out for themselves in the country.
In the end, a faulty system that is abandoned will never work again, unless all hands are placed on deck to ensure that things are rectified.
Nigeria as it is runs on a faulty system, a dangerously faulty system if one is to be objective, which is at a scary point. However, the system will eventually get knocked down if no one makes an effort to salvage things.
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