Mr Bubacarr Jabbi’s comments came hot on the heels of the Monday Lempedusa boat disaster. At least 90 Gambians were reported to be among the 130 migrants onboard the Italy-bound boat that capsized.
“I am expressing my condolence to the families of Gambians and other African nationals who died in the Monday disaster while trying to find their way to Lempedusa in Italy,” he exclusively told The Standard yesterday
“I could recall that sometime last week, fifty [illegal] migrants who boarded a small wooden boat to travel to Italy got drowned at the sea in Libya. Thirty bodies were recovered and the other twenty are yet to be recovered. I am calling on European governments to be very flexible in issuing visas to young people of Africa in order to avoid this kind of accidents. Europeans should know that Africans are human beings like them. So, why should they close their borders to Africans when African borders are open to them? I will also want to urge the Italian government to look after those Africans who are able to enter Italy. Let them have access to education and I am urging them to give them permits to stay and work, not to bring them back to Africa.”
Jabbi, who had once tried the perilous route without success added: “However, I want to remind Gambian youths that we have a president who has brought numerous development projects that they can benefit from. We should bear in mind that Europe was developed by Europeans. Why don’t we also stay and develop our own nation? We are not saying that people should not travel to Europe but let’s do it in a way that precious lives will not be lost. We cannot bring back the lives that perished in the sea and deserts. Therefore, as Africans, we should be wise enough and stay in our own land and develop it.”
By Saikou Jammeh]]>