Managing Nigerian Deaths In Diaspora
Over the years Nigerians have been victims of strange events resulting in deaths or near-death experiences but the government have seldom acted or carried out detailed investigations on these cases, however, the mysterious death of 26 young Nigerian girls found on the shores of on the Mediterranean Sea seems to changed the nation’s disposition towards its citizens in diaspora.
The two arms of the National Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives, have begun a holistic investigation into the discovery of dead bodies of 26 young Nigerian girls, ages 14 to 18, in a Spanish warship, Cantabria.
The Senate, last week, mandated its Committees on Diaspora, Foreign Affairs and Special Duties to investigate the unfortunate incident that led to the death of these women, who were enroute Italy and report back to the upper chamber at plenary within four weeks.
On it part, the House also mandated the Committee on Foreign Affairs to liaise with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Libyan government to investigate the cause and circumstances of the tragic occurrence.
Resolutions of the Senate, last week, were sequel to a motion by Senator Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North), entitled, “The Death of 26 young Nigerian girls’ en route Italy.”
The upper chamber, however, observed a minute silence for the repose of the souls of the 26 young Nigerian girls. Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over a plenary warned Nigerians desperate to leave the country for other countries without genuine papers to remain and join hands with others to build the country.
Similarly, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) ensured a minute silence was also observed during the annual business luncheon of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria on Wednesday, last week.
Senator Rose Oko in her presentation last week, said: “The Senate notes the mass exodus of our young boys and girls illegally attempting to migrate to Europe especially to Italy and Spain. It further notes that these journeys are through the perilous and hazardous Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea.”
In the House of Representatives, its position was prompted by a motion moved under “Matter of urgent public importance,” by the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Although, two suspected human smugglers identified as Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar from Libya and Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid from Egypt, have been arrested in Italy following the bodies of 26 Nigerian women and girls, all of them believed to be teenagers found dead on the Mediterranean Sea, it is still unclear exactly how the women and girls died, but autopsy results are expected soon.
Some reports state that the two suspected smugglers are accused of trafficking at least 150 people, but prosecutors have not directly linked them to the deaths.
Investigators suspect that the women and girls, some as young as 14, may have been murdered while attempting the dangerous smuggling route between Libya and Europe. The bodies were reportedly discovered by an anti-trafficking rescue boat called the Cantabria at the site of two separate shipwrecks.
More than 150,000 migrants and refugees have survived the journey over the Mediterranean Sea and entered Europe this year as of November 1st, according to the International Organization for Migration. Most, or about 75%, have arrived in Italy, with the rest ending up in Greece, Cyprus or Spain.
More than 2,800 people have died while attempting the crossing this year, down from 4,150 in 2016. It has become a worrisome trend that demands the Nigerian government as well as those in other countries in Africa to encourage and enlighten their youths to avoid this “blue sea death trap” and create a better environment that encourages citizens want to stay in their countries and be successful.
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