The United Nations (UN) has been urged to pressurise the Government of Nigeria to tackle social issues that cause migration and the sad situation of reported slavery in Libya.
And as a deterrent to all criminals abusing Africans, the UN has also be urged to ensure that all those involved in the horrid act of slave trade in Libya should be tried for crime against humanity.
This view was canvassed by the executive director, Hope For Niger Delta Campaign, Sunny Ofehe, at the 10th session of the United Nations forum on minority issue organised by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ofehe blamed economic and political marginalization of youths in Nigeria for the cause of migration and the sad situation wherein hundreds of Nigerians are reportedly sold as slaves in Libya.
The human rights activist based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pointed out the International Organization on Migration (IOM) has estimated that most African migrants in Libya and those who have died on the Mediterranean Sea are from Nigeria. And to avert the further enslavement of more Nigerians and other African migrants, he urged the United Nations to prevail on the Nigeria to tackle social issues that necessitate migration and the resultant loss of lives on the Mediterranean Sea.
“It is a sad reality to note that most of this Nigerian migrants are from two States; Edo and Delta in Nigeria. I am from Delta State, ladies and gentlemen. Delta State has the highest number of tertiary institutions in Nigeria and yet we have the highest number of unemployed graduates. This is in addition to the number of youths who do not have access to basic education and vocational skills. Therefore, our society is now plagued with roaming youths without job and means of livelihood. The future for them has remained bleak with no hope in sight.”
“These youths have become vulnerable to human smugglers and traffickers who promise them with better lives in Europe through the horrendous desert journey to countries like Algeria, Morocco and Libya. I have spoken to a few of them currently living in Libya and what you hear from them is “it is better for me to die in Libya trying to cross the sea to Europe than to die in Nigeria of hunger and starvation, for us all die is the same but we must die trying.” This is the sad reality that we now confront ourselves with in my State and my country” he said.
Ofehe who hinted he would contest governorship election in Delta in 2019, appealed to the UN to continue to use every instrument of the convention to pressure the Government of Nigeria to tackle the education challenges the country currently face particularly the rural areas. According to him, majority of the States in Nigeria owe teachers their basic salaries amid dilapidating infrastructure and complete neglect of the public schools.
He noted that the UN sustainable development goals have high priority for education for all people irrespective of their location and social status. Regrettably, he said in Nigeria many youths are denied access to qualitative education leading to high unemployment and increase in societal crimes.
“I will also want to appeal to the UN to specifically send a fact finding high powered delegation to visit Delta and Edo States and engage the government and civil society organizations on how they can support the youths around education and vocational trainings. In this way, we can engage the vulnerable youths and reduce their migration to death in Libya slavery and death camps, more so death on the Mediterranean Sea” he said.
Ofehe tasked the UN independent investigative panel to not only investigate the human rights abuses being carried out by the Libyans involved in the slavery and trafficking of African migrants, but that all those people involved in these acts must face crime against humanity and made to pay for their crimes.
Guardian reports that Ofehe said this will serve as a deterrent to all criminals abusing fellow Africans.