Nigerian Youth And Migrating Mentality: Whose Fault? -By Chinedu Vincent Okoro

Filed under: National Issues |

Chinedu Vincent Okoro

The word migration, according to Your dictionary, is the movement to another place, often of a large group of people or animals. The USA National Geographic Society defines human migration as “the movement of people from one place in the world to another”. Historically, migration of people took place about 1.75 million years ago with the movement of Homo erectus (Upright man) out of Africa across Eurasia (i.e a combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia) as a result of factors beyond their comfortability. This is to say that movement of Africans to Europe has lasted donkey years. It is worthy of note that migration to Europe or another country is not a sin, but the rate at which the youths of today are doing it, and the manner too, are just too bad and absurd. It is now public knowledge that many Nigerian youths are leaving the shores of Nigeria and Africa illegally to Europe where they believe to be their Promised Land. According to The Cable on the figures from the Italian Ministry of Interior as of November, 2016, it was estimated that over 36000 Nigerians arrived Italy illegally. The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) affirmed that about 10000 Nigerians died between the months of January and May, 2017 while struggling to illegally migrate through the Mediterranean Sea and deserts. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN reported that over 164779 illegal migrants, with the exception of 3086 that died, entered Europe by sea between 1 January and 3 December, 2017. The latest Slave Market in Libya where young black men are being auctioned for $400, according to CNN, and the torments unleashed on some of them, according to the report of IOM staff in Niger and Libya, are shocking facts about migration of Nigerians and other Africans to Europe.

My question is, Why are Nigerian Youths migrating to Europe illegally?

I have read a good number of articles and criticisms on the illegal migration of Nigerian youths to Europe. I have also joined in criticizing them, but after a thorough analysis on the issue, I personally came to understand that there are many visible rationales, which are 80% true why some Nigerian and African youths migrate to Europe illegally. For instance, according to the statement by Patrick Jabbi, a Congolese migrant which is a general perception why African Youths migrate to Europe published by the Aljazeera:

We all travel to get plant a new life. We Africans we believe that if you go to Europe your life is good.”

Many Nigerian and other African youths who get fed up with the prevalent economic hardship in Nigeria and in some African countries decide to the presumed ‘better lands’. They usually embark on the illegal and often suicidal trip to Europe and elsewhere for two major things, which are business and education. It is without doubt that the cost of doing businesses in Nigeria is very high as a result of the depreciation of the naira, which has resulted to inflation and economic recession in the country. Many Nigerian industries have shut down their operations, giving rise to increased unemployment, which mostly affects the youths. According to a report published on the site of Trading Economics, youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 33.10 percent in the third quarter of 2017 from 29.50 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

Also, the Nigerian educational system is nothing to write home about. It is surprising to know that only one Nigerian University (i.e. University of Ibadan) ranked 801-1000 top universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University 2018 Ranking. It is also obvious that our political leaders have known this right from time and that is why they send most of their children to universities in Europe and other developed countries.

The poor Nigerian youths, having realized that the governments have failed them in the area of providing enabling environments for business and acquisition of standard education, decide to seek how to survive in Europe and elsewhere, where they see as the most convenient places to go and actualize their dreams. Since 80% of them cannot afford the cost of migrating legally, they decided to do it illegally.

As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Government should admit the fact that they have failed the Nigerian youths. Their failure is evident in the high rate of illegal migration of young Nigerians out of the country, no matter how dangerous the journey is. Our political leaders want a bright future for their children and wards. The same is applicable to every other, which is why so many youths have made up their minds to leave, even if it means dying in Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert while trying to enter Europe rather than die in their fatherland where they are totally neglected by the leaders.

Successive governments sing about their so-called good policies and reforms, which are scarcely implemented. The main theme of their songs now is agriculture, but they should know that agricultural revitalization is not the only solution to the migration issue. The government should take drastic measures in the area of providing a better operating business environment and totally rebranding the decayed educational system, just as the current president of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo is doing in Ghana today. He did not only believe in his slogan “Ghana and Africa beyond Aid”, which is aimed at fast-tracking the African Common Market that seeks to present immense opportunities in wealth creation and prosperity as well as a standard education to the people of Africa, but also he is working day and night to see to the actualization of his policies. People who have been to Ghana would agree that the positive impact of these policies is being felt in Ghana even though he has not been long in office. The present-day Nigerian government and other African leaders should emulate this unique African leader.

To Nigerian youths, you should understand that there is no place like home. If all the youths run away from Nigeria, who will fix it, or what will be the hope of the youths of tomorrow? It is high time the Nigerian youths stood bold and determined to make our fatherland a better place to stay. The only way to do this is to be politically conscious. The youths should come closer to the Nigerian politics. It will not be a sin, if a young man of 25 or 30 becomes the President or Senate president of Nigeria. The older leaders have very little or nothing to offer the youths because they don’t really understand the problems of the youths. I see no reason why the Nigerian youths should be shaded from participating in the leadership of the nation. If you are a Nigerian youth reading this piece now and you are not a member of any political party, join one today and be serious in the activities of the party, as that is the only platform upon which you can really express yourself politically.

Finally, it is very necessary that the mentality of illegal migration to Europe be erased from the minds of those who are still planning to check out. Even if you want to go to Europe, go like a queen or king.


Chinedu Vincent Okoro is a Nigerian Writer cum Political activist. He is a graduate of Educational Management and Political Science from Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). He is the PRO of Abia State Chapter of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). He was recently recognized as an Ambassador of Spanish Language by the Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation (Spain). He is the President of St. Vincent Literary Forum Nigeria. Reach him through [email protected]