…Germany –based Nigerian takes campaign against human trafficking to schools, churches
BY VINCENT UJUMADU
FOR the past 19 years, Imo State –born Mr. Eddy Duru, based in Germany, has been organizing campaigns against the worrisome unprepared foreign trips by many Nigerian youths, which had led some of them to untimely death in foreign lands.
To date, the campaign, which comes in form of lectures and pictorial experiences of Nigerians languishing in foreign prisons and private detention camps in Europe and some African countries, had taken place in 14 secondary schools in Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as in two churches in Edo State, the University of Abuja and Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUTH.
Last week, Duru and members of his organization, ‘Re-educating Africans on the Risk and Dangers of Unplanned Journey Abroad, RADUJA, and his partners, the Nigerian Immigration Service, hosted 26 secondary schools across the country at the St. John of God Secondary School, Awka and lectured them on the need to avoid the temptation of falling into the trap of traveling abroad under the guise of looking for greener pastures.
At the event, RADUJA clubs were established in the schools present and the expectation was that they would become vanguard of the crusade in their various schools.
Duru, who said he began the campaign three years after he left the shores of Nigeria for further studies in Germany in 1996, expressed great joy at the enthusiasm of the youths to learn how to avoid unprepared journey to the unknown. He explained how he came face to face with Nigerian youths suffering in Europe because they traveled without proper arrangement, adding that he was driven into the campaign by the genuine passion he has for the progress of Nigeria
According to him, RADUJA had already established offices in Ghana, Gambia and Liberia for the purpose of enlightening Africans on the dangers inherent in trying to enter Europe through the desert and other illegal routes. Over the years, he said, research had shown that Nigerians were the worst victims, apparently because of the country’s poor economic situation, warning that making unplanned travel was like falling from frying pan to fire.
He said: “Nigeria should declare a state of emergency on illegal travelling abroad in view of what her citizens are passing through in many countries in Europe. Many of them even die before they get to their destinations and it is pitiable seeing their conditions. Worried by what I saw, I decided to embark on this enlightenment programme to save parents and our youths from further embarrassments in foreign lands.
“When I discovered irregular lifestyles of our people abroad, I designed this programme and started frequenting home to educate those in schools who are easily deceived about abroad. I am not doing it for political gains. In fact, I work and earn salary, but the issue is that once I get my salary I remove my house rent and feeding allowance and the rest is injected into RADUJA activities.
“We want to build a new generation in the nearest future so that our people will no longer believe that the quickest way to make it in life is by embarking on illegal journey abroad.”
Mr. Nnaedozie Nze of the Nigerian Immigration Service who was among the resource persons, educated the students on the need to make proper arrangements before venturing on a journey abroad. He said: “The basic requirement for travelling abroad is the passport. For students, you must have admission and there should be evidence of having paid school fees before you come for the passport.
“Anybody who tells you that you will travel first and then get admission when you get to the foreign country is deceiving you. Our youths should stop cutting corners and it is unfortunate that many girls from one particular state outside the South East often besiege our office in Awka to obtain passport and we already know their intention of wanting to travel abroad, which is prostitution.”
Coordinator of RADUJA Club at St John of God School, Kelechi Odimegwu said as champions of RADUJA, the students have the onerous responsibility of spreading the message to their fellow students and youths in their various communities.
She said: “Mr Duru, a great Nigerian patriot, has great passion in educating the up-coming ones against the dangers inherent in unplanned overseas trips, especially the ones initiated by the so called “good Samaritan”, who usually turn out to be criminals in disguise, using their fellow human beings to make quick money.
“This is blood money and it has its repercussions and so you should beware of those who may come to lure you with unavailable goodies and jobs abroad where you will end up becoming prostitutes, sex slaves, clinical research specimen and where your kidneys and livers can be removed for the benefit of their own people at a special cost.
“We are all aware of the picture and nauseating stories of deported, yet-to-be deported vulnerable Nigerians telling their irritating and shameful stories, their ugly experiences, the pains inflicted on them by their brothers and sisters who initially represented their future hope but later became wolves in sheep’s clothing.
“The story of those who were repatriated from Libya, Egypt and other countries, with their attendant stigma, cannot be fully erased from their memories.”