I had an amazing friend with whom I spent almost all my palmier time in the village. We are from the same compound, and we probably shared almost everything – from playing football to the rearing of animals, and we did swim together when we were rearing cattle. While we would be rearing cattle, he would tell us to learn how to swim since, in his own words, we would start embarking on a journey to Europe through ‘ back-way’. The boy would teach us how to swim and subsequently narrated the journey to us as if he had ever gone there.
Irregular migration, without a modicum of doubt, is claiming the lives of many people in The Gambia and the subregion. This week, to be precise two days ago, Ousman A. Marong, on his Facebook page, wrote: “ 26 Dead, Dozen Missing As Migrants’ Boat Went Missing”. I was in a car when I stumbled on this publication by him.
I read the article, and my mouth started opening and closing in astonishment. These are innocent people who embarked on this ‘dangerous’ journey with the hope of alleviating the burden of hardship on their families and the victims themselves. The level of poverty and unemployment in the country forced the majority of them to leave the country with the hope of breaking the chain of stigmatization that the majority faced within the society.
The people are suffering in The Gambia, and there are clear indications of these sufferings that many people are going through. The prospect of growing in the Gambia is low. The price of essential commodities is skyrocketing. Inflation is rising. Corruption is the order of the day in The Gambia. Youths are deprived of what should be spent on them.
What should the government do? The government through its relevant authorities should rethink, and bring policies that will liquidate corruption, and reduce the level of unemployment in the country. No youth will trade his or her for this perilous journey when everything is placed well in his or her country.
Unless these and many issues are addressed and measures are put in place, irregular migration will continue for a long period. We can address these problems by putting a measure that will reduce or eradicate irregular migration. Invest wisely in the creation of factories where youths can work and make a living while staying at home.
The issue of irregular migration, crime rate, corruption, etc will increase when youths are not supported. As they fondly say,” youths are the backbone of every nation”. Did our government forget about this saying? Why can’t the government invest heavily in youth?