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Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Deaths of migrants at sea must stop

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

For some time now the world has been receiving sad news about deaths of many migrants as they try to force their way to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea on overloaded ramshackle boats.
The aim of each of the victims has been to travel to European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany as done by others before them in search of greener pastures. The latest of this tragedy is the alleged deliberate pushing of many Ghanaian and Nigerian Christian migrants into the Mediterranean Sea by some Muslim migrants in a conflict with their Christian counterparts at sea. Those suspects have been arrested by the Italian police authorities for prosecution after rescuing about ten thousand migrants. It is our prayer that the Italian authorities will investigate the matter to find out why and how the incident occurred and to bring all the culprits to book.
On receiving the sad news, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Honorable Hannah Tetteh expressed concern about the incident and set out to cause investigation into the matter after which action is expected to be taken to find out the identities of those Ghanaian victims involved to be able to seek legal redress on the matter.
Pope Francis of the Vatican on his part has also expressed concern about the death of four hundred illegal immigrants at sea of late and commended the government of Italy for providing some surviving illegal immigrants with shelter while they are processed to obtain their refugee status.
While commending the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pope Francis and other world leaders for showing concern for the tragedies on the Mediterranean Sea, world leaders through the United Nations , the Africa Union and the Arab League need to combine their efforts to solve the problem of frequent deaths of migrants at sea. First and foremost they must examine the reasons for the continued attempts by the African, Asian and Arab youths to travel to Europe. Studies have shown that apart from wars and conflicts in North Africa and Middle East and parts of Asia, many African countries lack employment opportunities for the youths. Most of them on learning about life in euro often try their luck in the dangerous journey by sea to Europe .
To find the solution for illegal immigration there is the need for the world community to invest in organizing training and retraining for the large army of idle youth and school leavers in employable skills in Africa. A good number of such trainees on completion of their studies could be assisted to gain employment at home while the rest are encouraged and assisted to travel to Europe and America to work on contract as done for youth in some Asian nations.
Our religious groupings and schools have responsibilities to assist the nation in dealing with this problem by educating the youth to desist from seeking greener pastures in Europe at all cost and through illegal means. They must be told to seek means of livelihood through training in skills that would be useful to them and their nations. High Cost of living and shortage of employment opportunities in Europe must be made known to them. Parents must also sensitize the youth to hasten slowly and not connive with them to chart the easy and dangerous paths of either walking through the Sahara desert or through ramshackle boats on the Mediterranean Sea. One other reason for the increase in illegal migration of Africans is the work of many unregistered travel agencies that offer lucrative service conditions in Europe that turn out to be untrue. The International Organization for Migration that is aware of all the problems involved must not sleep on the job. They must be up and doing by providing the way out of the problem by advising all governments on the matter. If the governments, Foreign missions, the international community and religious groups combine their efforts effectively the problem of illegal migration would be solved to save Africa and other continents the bad press from deaths of migrants at sea.

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