The rate of migration by illegal means to Europe has become alarming as more young people in the country are doing everything possible to cross over to Europe in search of a better life.
Despite the increasing dangers African migrants face on their journey to Europe, some Ghanaians are still determined to embark on the perilous journey. The young people who mostly choose to ply the Sahara desert route to Europe blame economic hardships, inadequate education and lack of jobs as reasons for their search of greener pastures.
According to some who spoke to The Weekend Globe, they are just looking for an opportunity to leave the shores of Ghana to be able to make something out of their lives. They listed the neglect of the youth in the country as one of the reasons they would leave.
“Our leaders do not help the youth,” one shared. “If you vote for them, they will simply go to Parliament for their personal benefits but won’t help us. We are struggling in the country.”
Another stated that he wishes “to go to another country to hustle over there. That will be better than being in Ghana because the energy you exert here and the kind of opportunities available are very, very small. You exert more energy yet, you get little. So I prefer to go out.”
He continued, “I have colleagues who when they completed school, traveled out. They are just doing menial jobs there yet they’ve been able to put up houses here. I am working even harder over here with nothing to show for it.”
Available statistics show that between 2007 and 2012, more than 30,000 Ghanaians were stranded in Libya alone, seeking means to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. There has also been an increase in the number of Ghanaians who have been denied visas since 1995 and most young Ghanaians between the ages of 24 and 36 have used illegal routes to reach their destinations.
One such Ghanaian who went through the Sahara desert en-route to Europe, Samuel Obeng, shared his experience with The Weekend Globe, saying although his journey was hectic and frightening, it was worthwhile. He said he had to work for sometime in Libya to claw up enough cash to aid him continue his journey. According to Samuel, his economic situation has improved as compared to when he was in Ghana. Up until his return to the country due to the conflict in Libya some two years ago, he was able to cater for himself and his family. Samuel, who now lives in Accra, says he is putting plans in place to embark on a similar journey back to Europe.
“I will go back there because there are a lot of jobs there, some things are normal. There is no light bill, no water bill but in Ghana, we suffer. In this world, it’s either you win or you lose, get rich or die trying,” he added.
Ghanaians who had so far succeeded in reaching their destinations are reported to be living in misery as illegal immigrants in Europe. Majority of these people are said to be struggling to be able to find a decent meal a day but are not interested in returning to the country.
A Ghanaian resident in the United Kingdom who spoke on the issue said the current economic situation in Europe has become so difficult that most illegal migrants, especially Ghanaians, are left in deplorable states after arrival.
“When these illegal migrants reach here,” he said. “They get disappointed because the situation here is very difficult. They are mostly left helpless and have to depend on some of us for a meal.”
Meanwhile an immigration analyst and author of the book “Abrokyire Abrobor”, Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng has blamed the poor state of the economy and the lack of education and the current economic situation in Europe for the increase in the number of illegal migrants to Europe. According Mr. Nkrumah-Boateng, most of these illegal migrants are motivated to travel for greener pastures when they see friends and family members who have returned to the country living comfortably.
“These young people would want to do anything and everything to get to Europe and the United States when they see the kind of comfortable lives their friends and family who have come from these places live.” He further added that Ghanaian migrants abroad must make people back home aware of the kind of difficulties they are facing, rather than painting a different picture of their situations which end up misleading a lot of people in thinking that there are greener pastures outside the country and the continent.
The question that remains unanswered, however, is how can the situation be remedied? Should the government step in to ensure better quality of lives for their people or should there be mass propaganda and education to demystify people about the West as a land of milk and honey?
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