The talk on everyone’s lips has been the tragedy that took place off the Coast of Mauritania where at least sixty-three young Gambians perished when the boat they were traveling on to reach the shores of Europe ran out of fuel.
This is the worst mishap that has ever happened in The Gambia where a number as large as this lost their lives in one day. The International Organization of Migration has announced that they have made arrangements to repatriate about seventy-eight survivors who are currently heading home to reunite with their families.
President Adama Barrow said an investigative panel has already been set up to look into the cause of this accident and the people behind it. He also promised that whoever is found wanting will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The President also spoke of efforts in collaboration with the IOM and other organizations to stem this type of illegal migration. However, the President fell short of giving detail and practical steps his government is taking to ensure that these illegal journeys stop so that more Gambians will not continue to lose their lives in the high seas.
The issue of migration is now a global problem as many countries are suffering from its effects and stemming it will require concerted efforts form all countries that are facing these difficulties. The Western countries are facing their own challenges which are as a result of the surge in illegal migration and thus their efforts to help African countries mostly to stop or reduce the incidents of boats entering Europe.
Nonetheless, African governments must understand that no one from outside will solve their problems entirely. There has to be an effort from within to stop the illegal migration by removing the need for people to risk their lives in these waters. In order to do that, plans should be made to give the youth skills and opportunities to succeed here. That is the only way forward.