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Nigerian asylum seekers

THERE seems to be no end to the barrage of bad  news indicating that Nigeria is one of the most badly governed political entities in the world. We already know, through indisputable statistical evidence drawn up by credible international agencies, that Nigeria ranks among the worst when it comes to such indicators as corruption, risk of doing business, and ability of its security agencies to exert effective control over its territory.

Recently, in a rating of universities in the world, Nigeria ’s numerous universities ranked among the worst even in Africa . We were also depicted as a country with one of the worst medical service deliveries in the world.

And now, another damning rating has come to show that Nigeria has maintained its seventh position in the world register of persons seeking asylum in foreign countries. In its 2009 report, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) disclosed that Afghanistan , Iraq and Somalia top the asylums seekers’ list, followed by people from the Russian Federation , China , Serbia and Nigeria .

Of all these countries, China is the only one that has not been faced with the collapse or disintegration of its former mother state. Perhaps, Chinese are now capitalising on the liberalisation of their country’s economic space to offload some of its humongous population on the rest of the world.

In the case of Nigeria , there was a threat of disintegration, which ended in a civil war that stopped it. That war ended 40 years ago. The trend towards economic asylum seeking in other countries started in the early 1980’s when the full weight of military misgovernance and the myopia of the new civilian regime of Alhaji Shehu Shagari started dawning on the people. Since then, more than six regimes later, the trend of Nigerians drifting abroad for economic survival has continued to heighten unabated.

There is hardly a day that passes in our international airports especially Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja Lagos and Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, when Nigerians, in their droves, are not being forcibly brought back from foreign countries to which they had strayed illegally. On many occasions, forcible deportations have resulted in deaths of Nigerian citizens.

One does not need to look very far to find out the cause of these migrations. Like the proverbial “Andrew”, people are deserting the country in search of economic opportunities. Able bodied Nigerians would rather travel to other countries to live on the streets as homeless, jobless people in the hope that one day something would come along and change their fortunes. It is this trend which forced many Nigerians to arid country such as Libya that makes Nigeria a laughing stock to eccentric leaders like Muammar Gaddafi, who feel that dividing the country could help in solving its problems which it could not handle as a united nation.

Nigerians have to realise that nothing good comes easy. It is only when we get the good leaders we have been yearning for that solutions to our problems will start coming out. We cannot get good leaders by sitting in the comfort of our homes and complaining. We must get involved in the process of producing leaders. This is why the general election of 2011 is an occasion to look forward to because it offers yet another chance for Nigerians to search for and enthrone the calibre of leaders that will bring out the best in one of the most endowed entities in the world.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.