By Tosin Ajiboye
Monday 12 August was this year’s International Youth Day, and the theme was: Youth Migration and Implication for Development.
Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. It can be international (movement between different countries) and it can be internal (movement within a country, often from rural to urban areas).
More people are migrating today than at any other point in human history. Migrants travel in many different ways and for different reasons. People move in order to improve their standards of living, to give their children better opportunities, or to escape from poverty, conflict and famine.
Today, with modern transportation and communications, more people are motivated and able to move because one of the characteristics of a living thing is movement.
People hold various views about whether migration is good or bad, and often they disagree about a particular situation. Sometimes migration has a positive impact for the people who migrate and on the area they leave or move to, but at other times migration has negative consequences.
Regardless of people’s opinion about migration it is very important to commit one’s journey into God’s hand.
Thousands of Nigerians and other African citizens are languishing in jail in some foreign countries while others have been executed for various offences in the course of seeking greener pasture.
For instance, in Saudi Arabia, molestation, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic shari’ah law.
On 13 May, 2000, seven Nigerians were beheaded after being convicted of robbing a bank in which their victims were reported to have been injured. Three other Nigerians convicted of involvement in the same armed robbery had their right hands and left feet amputated according to Amnesty International Report released on 15 June, 2000.
In another development, The High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida in October 2011 revealed that at least 500 Nigerians were languishing in United Kingdom prisons for various offences ranging from immigration issues to criminal activities.
According to him, well over 1,000 Nigerians were clamped into prisons as at the time he was appointed the high commissioner, a development he said tainted the image of Nigeria in no small way. He, however, regretted that many of Nigeria’s citizens in the United Kingdom were surviving via illegal means like credit card fraud, internet scams, obtaining by trick, immigration paper forgery, among others.
However, travelling abroad with a good intention and through legal means is right and backed by international law.
Articles 13 and 14 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights say; “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement within their own country and to travel from and to their country.
“Everyone facing persecution has the right to asylum in other countries”.
But as good and legal as travelling out is, it is expedient and necessary for everyone planning to travel to go with all the necessary papers, and most importantly to commit his journey into God’s hand.
There are some bad reasons why people travel abroad, which underscores the fact that there are two sides to every situation in life. As some people are travelling abroad for good reasons, some are also travelling for bad reasons. Here are some of the bad reasons why people are trooping abroad:
Drug Trafficking: Some people travel across the globe for drug trafficking. Their motive is to make quick money through smuggling of hard drugs. Drug traffickers can go to any length to carry out their shady business. Some people will swallow drugs and they will be operated upon to remove the drug they have swallowed when they get to their destinations. Some women conceal drugs in their private parts, while others will hide drugs in their luggage. Other drug traffickers use charms so that security agents or scanning machines will not be able to detect the hidden drugs on them or in their luggage.
Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of capital punishment in the world. Of the 766 executions recorded by Amnesty International between 1990 and 1999, over half were of migrant workers and other foreign nationals. While a high proportion of those were Asian migrant workers mainly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Nepal- who comprise between 60 and 80 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s workforce — at least 72 were Nigerians, mostly convicted for drug smuggling or armed robbery.
By mid-June 2000, Saudi Arabia had executed 53 people, 25 of them in May, 19 were Saudi Arabian nationals and 30 were foreign nationals, including from Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Egypt and Iraq. Migrant workers and other foreign nationals have faced discriminatory treatment under the criminal justice system in Saudi Arabia.
Human Trafficking: 2004 US State Department figures indicate that 600,000-800,000 women and children are trafficked annually across international borders. Approximately 80% are women and up to 50% are minors. The vast majority of those trafficked under 18 years of age are girls. Male minors account for only 2% of trafficking cases. The United Nations estimates a figure closer to 4 million as a total for internationally and internally trafficked people. UNICEF estimates 1,200,000 children were trafficked globally in 2000. Men, women, and children are trafficked for many purposes – sexual exploitation, begging, underpaid and exploited forced labour in the agricultural, manufacturing and construction industries, domestic service and organ harvesting. Trafficking in humans is a highly lucrative business. Estimated profits are between US $ 7-$ 10 billion annually.
Selling of body parts: Some people (mostly young people) travel abroad to sell some vital parts of their bodies for money. There are several wealthy patients in some leading hospitals in Europe, America and in Asia who need either kidney, liver or other sensitive parts of the body. These patients are ready to pay any amount of money for anybody that can donate any part of the body they need. Young people across the globe get this information on the internet and they follow it up.
In Spain, Italy, Greece and Russia, advertisements by people peddling organs — as well as hair, sperm and breast milk — have turned up on the internet, with asking prices for lungs as high as $ 250,000. The main supply countries have traditionally been China, India, Brazil and the Philippines. But experts say Europeans are increasingly vulnerable.
An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 kidneys are illegally sold globally each year, according to Organs Watch, a human rights group in Berkeley, California, that tracks the illegal organ trade. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 10 percent of global needs for organ transplantation are being met. Data from WHO shows that of the 106,879 solid organs known to have been transplanted in 95 member states in 2010 (legally and illegally), about 73,179 (68.5%) were kidneys. But those 106,879 operations satisfied just 10% of the global need, the WHO said.
What to know before Travelling out:
Culture: It is often said that “one man’s food is another man’s poison”. Before travelling/migrating to another country or area, it is good to have an idea of the culture of the place, for easy adaptation and for good human relationship/interaction.
According to the findings of United States on African immigration to United States, African immigrants tend to retain their culture once in the United States. Instead of abandoning their various traditions, they find ways to reproduce and reinvent themselves and this has landed some immigrants in jail since there is no ignorance before the law.
Economy: Young people from Africa who are trooping to Europe and America seeking for employment must study the state of economy of the country they intend to go, because most of the European Union member states are still battling with the effects of economic recession and unemployment rate is still very high.
The unemployment rate in the United States initially doubled from when the recession began in December 2007, but has since fallen. However, it will probably hover above 8% through 2013, even though the recession is over. That’s because employers resist hiring new workers until they are absolutely sure the economy will stay strong.
Religion: Religion may be seen in a narrow sense to refer to a set of theological belief held and rituals performed by members of a particular group. There are many religions all over the world which include: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Taosim, etc. each of these religions is popular in some places than the other.
Language: Each country has a different official language they are speaking and it is important for anyone that is travelling abroad to have a little idea about the language of the country he is visiting for easy communication.
Nigerian governments must work hard this year to improve the living conditions of its citizens so as to discourage travelling at all costs syndrome among the youth and to discourage brain drain.
I enjoin everyone planning to travel abroad this year for greener pasture to first look abroad for help and for direction.
Happy International Youth Day to all the young people all over the world and I pray we shall get there by His grace.
• Ajiboye, a youth leader and public affairs commentator wrote in from Lagos State. e-mail: [email protected] This piece was taken from his book titled ‘ABOVE OR ABROAD’ to be launched soon.
Source: PM News
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