By Kenechukwu Obiezu
AS the startling inefficiencies and staggering inequalities in the Giant of Africa continue to cause available space to shrink, many Nigerians continue to jump ship, seeking succour in countries near and far-flung, the conditions in some of them far inferior to what obtains at home.
As Nigerians continue to leave the country in droves, horrific stories have continued to trickle home from some of the countries they go to, putting the lie to the fact that pastures are always greener elsewhere.
The mill of migration
As different factors around the world continue to uproot people from their lives and livelihoods, migration has become one of the biggest issues in the world today.
Over the years, the international community has come to make peace with the fact that since enough is not being done to preclude conflicts, terrorism, climate change, poverty and other factors that displace people and cause them to move, mass migration is the new reality.
People will continue to move, and measures to make the movement of people as seamless and as humanitarian as it can be within the bounds of international law have to be taken.
The reception migrants get from their host countries, many of who are reluctant to take in migrants, has also come under increasing scrutiny.
A key feature of these measures has been demanding that countries which have large pools of migrants at any point in time do all they can to secure the lives and dignity of those migrants for as long as they are in those countries.
The fact that this has not always been easy has been compounded by unscrupulous politicians in some of those countries, who take leave of serious issues on the campaign trail and instead whip up anti-immigrant sentiments among their citizens as a way to corral votes.
This has had the effect of putting many migrants in danger. While some of the resentment local populations have for migrants is understandable as migrants sometimes compete for resources that are scarce, the transformational effect migration has had on many communities around the world stand undeniable.
Death from Italy
On Friday, July 29, 2022, Italians as well Nigerians were collectively horrified by the brutal beating to death of Alika Ogorchukwu in Cavitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea in Italy.
According to the Italian Police, the deceased, a 39-year-old Nigerian, was selling goods on the main street of Civitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, when his attacker grabbed his crutch and struck him down before beating him to death. The heinous crime was captured on camera as well as by some onlookers who stood by and did nothing.
While Mr. Alika, a disabled man,was being beaten to death, passersby did nothing to help him. Rather, many stood by, onlookers watched and filmed in a staggering display of iniquitous indifference that shows a section of the Italian society that has lost its humanity.
Police have arrested the suspect. But at this point, nothing will bring back to life the father of two who worked as a labourer until he resorted to selling goods after he was struck down by a car and lost the use of his legs.
A sea of sobering questions
For Nigeria, Mr. Alika‘s death opens up a sea of sobering questions. It was not the first time a Nigerian was killed or brutally attacked in another country. It was not even the thousandth time. For how long will the citizens of the Giant of Africa remain soft targets of the many bloodthirsty wolves who prowl the streets of many foreign countries looking for whom to devour?
What is the worth Nigeria attaches to the lives of its citizens forced to flee the country and live in countries that are ordinarily backwater countries?
Nigeria has a Diaspora Commission, how loudly is the world being told that no matter where a Nigerian is on the face of the earth, they must not be taken for granted?
Perhaps, what happens to Nigerians outside Nigeria is only but a reflection of what happens here at home. A country which does not place the highest premium on the lives of its citizens, and which has consequently seen those lives cheapened by insecurity, is a country that has since lost the moral fibre to demand that the rights of its citizens anywhere in the world be fully and forcefully respected. Nigeria could learn from the USA and other countries which place the highest premium on the lives of their citizens both home and abroad.
Crime as well as criminals abound in every country of the world, but there is no doubt that if the conditions here are dramatically improved, many Nigerians will have no reason to move to some countries where even the air reeks of death as the Grim Reaper patrols.
Obiezu, a public affairs commentator, wrote via: [email protected]
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.