SEEKING THE GOLDEN FLEECE: A PERILOUS JOURNEY FROM AFRICA TO EUROPE

A Presentation at  Global Eghosa  Old Boys Association at the Crowne Plaza Hotel London Heathrow.

 

SALUTATION

  • The Chairman,
  • President Global Eghosa Old Boys Association (EGHOBA GLOBAL)
  • President EGHOBA (UK)
  • Distinguished Eghosa Old Boys and their Spouses,
  • Ladies & Gentlemen

Content of Discussion

  • Definition of Terms
  • The Origin of Migration.
  • European migration to Africa;
  • The scramble for Africa & Subsequent Partition of Africa.
  • Causes of African migration to Europe –
  • The scale of the problem.
  • Migration Routes from Sub-Sahara Africa.
  • Solutions to the Problem

African Solutions & European Solutions

DEFINITION OF TERMS:

  • Regular Migration: Migration that occurs through recognized, legal channels.
  • Irregular Migration :

Movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and

receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular

migration.

Perspective of destination countries it is illegal entry, stay or work in a country, meaning that the migrant does not have the necessary authorization or

documents required under immigration regulations to enter, reside or work

Perspective of the sending country, the irregularity in which a person crosses an international boundary without a valid passport or travel document or does not fulfil the administrative requirements for leaving the  country.

  • Illegal migration cases of smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.

 

DEFINITION OF TERMS 2

  • Refugee:

A person, who “owing to well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion,

nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions, is outside the

country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself

of the protection of that country” (Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Art. 1A (2), 1951, 1967)

DEFINITION OF TERMS 3

  • Trafficking in Persons:

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or

of the giving or receiving of

payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (Art. 3(a), UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and

Punish trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Organized Crime, 2000).

 

THE ORIGIN OF HUMAN MIGRATION

  • Early human migrations and expansions of archaic and modern humans across continents began 1.8 million years ago with the migration out of Africa by Homo erectus.
  • The Homo sapiens ventured out of Africa around 125,000 years ago, spread across Asia from 75,000 years ago.
  • The first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab el Mandib connecting Ethiopia and Yemen.
  • From the Near East, some of these people went east to South Asia by 50,000 years ago and on to Australia by 46,000 years ago.
  • The first time H. sapiens reached territory never reached by H. erectus.
  • H. sapiens reached Europe around 43,000 years ago, replacing the Neanderthal population by 24,000 years ago. Is history repeating itself?

 

EUROPEAN MIGRATION TO AFRICA

  • The European migration led to the creation of European communities throughout the world predominantly in the Americas, Africa, and Australasia etc
  • Emigration from Europe began during the European colonial empires of the 18th to 19th centuries and continues to the present day. Spanish Empire in the 16th to 17th centuries, the British Empire in the 17th to 19th centuries, the Portuguese Empire and the Russian Empire in the 19th century.
  • From 1815 to 1932, about 60 million people left Europe primarily to “areas of European settlement” in USA, Canada, Argentina and Brazil; Australia, New Zealand, Siberia, Africa especially South Africa and Namibia.

EUROPEAN MIGRATION TO AFRICA

  • The “Scramble for Africa” is the invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the Partition of Africa.
  • The Berlin Conference of 1884, regulated European colonization and trade in Africa.
  • The 19th century saw the transition from “informal imperialism” (hegemony), by military influence and economic dominance, to the direct rule of a people which brought about colonial imperialism.
  • The second serious problem was the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which removed the best, the strongest and the brightest from African shores to the sugar cane plantations of the Americas.

The Europeans were uninvited, they did not obtain a visa and the trade was one sided as they determined what they paid for or sold a commodity

 

EUROPEAN MIGRATION INTO AFRICA

  • In the partition of Africa, homogenous tribes were divided e.g. the French Cameroon and the British Cameroon, the Ndebele of South Africa were separated into South Africa and Zimbabwe. Western Sahara divided between Spain and the ancient Kingdom of Morocco.
  • Conflict of territorial control today between POLITSARIO FRONT and Morocco government,
  • On the horn of Africa, you will recall the 30years war of independence between Eritrea and Ethiopia which led to secession of Eritrea. Peace has eluded the horn of Africa since.
  • The inherent problem in the arbitrary partition of Africa, separation of ethnic nations into different countries led to incessant wars in Africa resulting in huge refugee problem as in the Congo Basin.
  • Nigeria and Cameroon could have gone into full scale war if not the diplomacy and the weakness showed by President Obasanjo by conceding the oil rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon. In oral Nigerian history, Bakassi is an integral part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

CAUSES OF AFRICANS MIGRATION TO EUROPE.

The PUSH FACTORS

Include violent conflicts, wars, gross human rights violations, repression, population pressure, degradation of natural resources, poverty,  poor governance, corruption, tribalism, ethnicity, unemployment, cultism and nepotism.

Migration from Africa is a reflection of its socio‐economic dynamics over time. In the past decades the number of refugees from conflict regions in Africa increased dramatically.

Between 1993 and 2002, the population of 27 out of 53 African countries suffered from violent conflicts.

At the end of 2005 some 18% of all African migrants were refugees. This proportion is

far above the global average, as African refugees constitute about one third of the global refugee population. This may explain, why nearly half (47%) of the 16.7m. cross‐border migrants in Africa in 2005 were women and children.

Above figures explicitly disregard some13m. additional internally displaced persons  in the North Eastern part of Nigeria due to the activities of the Islamic insurgency of boko haram.

 

CAUSES OF AFRICAN MIGRATION

The External Pull Factors

Young men and women, threatened by unemployment and lack of perspectives in their home

country, try their luck in what may appear to them at first sight as their El Dorado, i. e. Western Europe;

a better life; the proverbial golden fleece.

Deterrence and zero‐migration policies on the part of the fortress Europe  encourage irregular immigration, smuggling, marginalization and exploitation of migrants on different levels and stages of their journey to Europe

The better educated, have most to gain, and because of their resource endowment are more prone than others to benefit from the pull factors, like better living and economic conditions in their host countries.

This is one of the reasons of a considerable ‘brain drain’ over the past thirty years, which resulted in the loss of about one third of the African academic work force to highly industrialised countries.

About 20,000 Nigerian and 12,000 South‐African doctors migrated overseas, whereas only 33,000 remained in South Africa according to recent WHO statistics.

Even the 926 Ghanaian doctors practising nowadays in OECD countries, would be urgently needed at home, where they would represent 29% of all doctors employed.  Western Africa has been the most important source of this brain drain, due to the economic and/or political crisis in Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the 1980s.

The drain of human capital is most pronounced in the employment sector for highly qualified personnel – a total loss to Africa economic development.

 

THE MIGRATION ROUTE

  • THE MIGRATION ROUTE
  • “The journey across the desert is nothing like the journey by sea, which is also complicated enough. In the desert, there is practically no reliable information, no guide and anything can happen to you: you have to get this into your head. You are forced to learn, you make mistakes but each error you make helps you not to repeat it.
  • It is a journey of chance, of destiny, of coincidences; plans are worth little or nothing and everything is unpredictable”.

MIGRATION ROUTES

  • From Western Africa
  • West Africa is a strategic gateway to North Africa and Europe. Although West African migration to Europe slightly decreased in 2013, Mali and Nigeria, continue to experience rising numbers of migrants.
  • The main hurdle for both West and Central Africans comes at the crossing into North Africa, where they are most vulnerable to authorities and exploitation alike. For Malian nationals, the jump into the Maghreb is easier, as those with a Malian passport or those with easily obtainable false Malian papers, do not need a visa to enter Algeria.
  • From there, most irregular migrants cross into Tunisia or Libya before beginning their maritime journey across the Mediterranean. Transportation is largely via trucks, buses and lorries that are in poor condition. Local ethnic groups, such as the Tuareg, are involved in migrant smuggling to Europe via Sahel routes. The Tuareg cooperate closely with “travel agencies” in Agadez (Niger), renting out their lorries to transport people.

MIGRATION ROUTES.

  • The Agadez trail is a well-established smuggling route from northern Niger’s largest city, Agadez, into Algeria and onward. The number of migrants on the Agadez trail has increased since 2013.
  • More than 5,000 West Africans leave Agadez to North Africa each month between March and August 2013. Half of all West African migrants arriving Lampedusa, Italy transit through Agadez.
  • There are over 70 known migrant way-stations and transit houses in this region, 18 of which are located in the town of Agadez itself.
  • These way-stations are reported to house as many as 500 migrants at any given time. They move from here to Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, Tamanrasset, Gao, Agadaez, Sallum, Ma’tan as Sarah, Selimat, paying from2000 USD to 4,000 USD for full package.
  • It is believe that free movement through ECOWAS Members states facilitate this irregular migration

THE SCALE OF THE PROBLEM

  • No one knows exactly how many people perish at sea or in the desert but most deaths probably gounreported and the bodies of the deceased remain unidentified.
  • Even less is known about those who lose their lives during the desert crossing from sub-Saharan Africa to Libya. Both at sea and in the desert, the casualties are men, women and even children.
  • The passage to Europe via Libya – typically composed of the desert crossing, travel within Libya, and the boat trip across the Mediterranean Sea – is a treacherous journey.
  • Most refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants alike are left at the mercy of smugglers at each leg of their difficult journey.
  • Before the death of Muarmar Gaddafi, Libya was a destination nation but since his death and the instability in Libya, it has become a transit country for irregular immigrants to Europe without control.

DEATH IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA

SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM

  • AFRICAN SOLUTION
  • EU SOLUTION