The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Section 14 2(b), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999
LIBYA has been happening for years. The feigned surprise by the authorities is part of hypocrisy that rules the land. What had not happened to this point is the high numbers involved, and the steel determination of the “victims” to go through hell, rather than remain in Nigeria.
THE first reaction to the Libya situation is to share blames, if they cannot be pushed. Governments are not seeing their failure in the tragedy. Hardship, of unimaginable proportions descended on Nigerians with the superintendence of our governments, which have minimal concerns about Nigerians.
IT took years for Libya to build up. In those years, Libya was a transit camp for those migrating to Europe, mostly Italy, where thousands of Africans die in their illegal attempts to cross with rickety into Europe. Majority of those who die could be Nigerians. More Nigerians perish in the Sahara Desert as they make the tortuous journey to Europe.
THERE are other crossings through Morocco, Tunisia and Las Palmas. Italy is the most attractive because of traditional routes that decades of Nigerian migration had established. The links drew Nigerian youths, mostly ladies, to Italy.
RISKY as the Mediterranean crossing is – many of those waiting to use it know they could die – people have lost so much hope at home, that death on the turbulent sea was worthier than “doing nothing” about their condition. Many fully appreciated the dangers involved only at the point of “no return”.
THEY had invested so much of their lives and family resources in making the trip that abandoning it because of the obvious dangers of the sea was never an option. They had history behind them. Many knew those who passed through the same sea to Europe and prosperity.
HOPES of families dangled on the decisions they make. Back home were people waiting to benefit from the money sojourners would send or for the signal to join them. In those circumstances, thoughts of abandoning the trip were rare. The bigger question was what they would do, if they chickened out at the verge of “success”.
THE blames are flying already. Who would accept responsibility for another failure of our governments? Who does not know that some of those whose psyches were battered in Libya, if they have the resources, would make another attempt to seek a future outside Nigeria? Would governments bother to halt the illegal migration of hundreds of thousands of young people, who have given up hope on Nigeria?
LIBYA is the symptom. Nobody should confuse it with the disease. A symptom if not used as the map to the illness, develops other features. If we listen to those who were lucky to return, many of them are educated, or passed through our higher institutions. What were they searching for in Libya?
YEARS back, Libya’s prosperity was such that those who could not make Europe stayed back there. They worked, earned descent wages, while bidding their time to cross into Europe. Relations joined them. The remnants are reportedly the ones running the slave camps in Libya.
WHEN Mummar Gadhafi was killed, Libya collapsed. It has not recovered. Militias sprouted like overnight mushrooms. Each partitioned a part of Libya for itself, much like Somalia. Without a central government that is able to enforce law and order, lawlessness became the law.
NIGERIANS or others who ventured into any part of Libya have to live by the laws of those in charge of it. Calls on the Federal Government to intervene shows how unconnected the government is to the people. Does government need to be told that drastic measures were required to deal with the fallouts of the maltreatment of Nigerians in Libya?
YET anyone who expects that the Nigerian government would raise a voice against the Libyans, or ask for an investigation, does not understand how our governments work. Libya, if investigated, would indict governments for swearing to words, which mean nothing to them. All they want is power. Have they not got the power? Is the power not for them to attend to their greed?
WHERE is the security for our people? Where is the welfare of our people? Where are these two items, which the Constitution says should be the primary purpose of our governments? What government policies consider the “security and welfare of the people”?
LIBYA would keep happening because our governments do not care. In a matter of weeks, they expect Libya would not be a hot news item again. There are elections that are months away. The elections are the most important matter of the moment.
WHAT is Libya? Who are involved? What if hundreds of thousands of Nigerians die? Does it matter how they die? Is it important who or what killed them? Their love for Nigeria would still be questioned, even if they were dead.
SPURIOUS debates about the Libyan debacle have commenced. The most strident position is that the victims caused their own troubles and deserved what they got. There are no rooms for expectations that Nigeria would protect her citizens. Has everyone given up on a country that we call ours?
OFFICIAL reactions have remained tepid. No strong condemnations of what happened (which most of the returnees claim is still happening) in Libya. Our government has affinities with Libya that it considers more important than the security and welfare of Nigerians.
NO words are too strong to condemn the Libyan affront. Nigerians expected a severing of diplomatic relations with Libya, while investigating how its government could not protect Nigerians.
THE Nigerian Ambassador to Libya remains in office. His Libyan counterpart is in Abuja, no queries. Does Nigeria, in establishing the Libyan precedent, expect other countries would place any premium on the dignity of Nigerians?
SOME are calling for a stop to slavery in Libya. The disinterest and indifference of our government to Nigerians is worse than slavery. Would the government see the links between Libya and creating opportunities for a fulfiling life for Nigerians at home?
LIBYA, if any further proof was needed, confirms the hollowness of the oaths our leaders take, particularly, as they affect the “security and welfare of the people”, and their primacy, in the execution of government policies.