Posted by With Patrick Naagbanton on
Few days before, fear and trembling flared in the Queen's home, London, the headquarters of the United Kingdom (UK), by those who dispense it, and which left grievous blow behind.
Few days before, fear and trembling flared in the Queen's home, London, the headquarters of the United Kingdom (UK), by those who dispense it, and which left grievous blow behind. Deborah Orr, a columnist with the UK-based The Independent newspaper, barred her journalistic fang and stirred my agitation, with her well-researched and analytical article; Britain is Mugabe's Ally in Mass Murder, The Independent, Thursday, June 28, 2005, Page 51.
While flipping through a wide range of the UK newspapers and magazines during my brief visit there, Orr's beautiful prose in her column bewitched my attention. Real columnists whether in a newspaper or a newsmagazine need to be taken seriously. They predict real things that are to come, and those who ignore them should prepare for their funeral. In that piece, Deborah Orr was downright on the asylum crisis. Like any columnist who knows her onus, she also offered her magic wand.
A day after her piece featured in the paper, The Independent displayed flamboyantly at its front page, "Teenage Suicide at detention centre is new blow to UK policy; the asylum crisis". According to the paper, the biggest domestic issue in the UK now, is the asylum crisis. Perhaps, since agents of terror visited "our" charming London, the issue now, will be how to deal with terrorism. Back to the asylum issue, the paper further revealed that with the emergency of the regimes of terror in most counties, applications for asylum in the UK has hiked. The Independent stated that in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), due to insecurity, ethnic tensions and human rights abuses, such as unlawful killings, widespread rape, torture, and use of child soldiers, 1,460 persons applied for asylum in 2005.
In Zimbabwe, following Robert Mugabe's harsh policy, thousands of urban dwellers have been made homeless under his demolition programme. Repression aims to crush dissent had fuelled thousands of Zimbabweans seeking asylum in the UK 2,050 applied for asylum. While in Somalia, 2,590 applied for asylum.
In the country, prominent "Warlords" responsible for factional fighting in central and Southern regions have become, members of the new government, many are still applying for asylum to leave the country.
Beyond columnist Deborah Orr's wand or The Independent's report, I learnt in the UK that Nigerians constitute the highest number of asylum seekers. Over 250,000 Nigerians in 2005, applied for British Visa, 15% of the applicants applied on forged papers, most Nigerians who entered the UK under the guise of attending conferences, church activities and other numerous reasons never returned. They remain there and pose immigration risk to the UK government.
Well, you should not blame them because they are dazed. They suddenly found themselves in a place where everything works, whereas back home nothing works.
A place where there is no interrupted electricity supply, clear water runs to people's houses without one carrying a bucket across risky highway, to look for untidy water vendors. A place where roads are neat and smooth without the usual burrow pits we have on ours in Nigeria, a place where everybody have access to good hospitals and functioning educational system.
Nigerian nurses flood the major hospitals and clinics in the UK now. I am sad and angry that our hospitals and clinics are mere consulting centers, devoid of vital drugs and equipment to provide necessary health care to our citizens.
The shameless charlatans who called themselves our rulers, are happy to send their children and loved ones to hospitals and schools in the UK and other parts of Europe, whereas, they have destroyed the schools and hospitals at home. In Nigeria, corruption, embezzlement, and fraud work. Any time you get to the embassies, to apply for visa to travel, to any country, the first satirical question you are confronted with, is, "If I give you visa, will you come back?
Back to other African countries, why should Africans be running from their beautiful countries to be second-class citizens elsewhere? If a lunatic ruler like that of an Abacha of Nigeria or a self-styled Field-Marshall Idi Amin of Uganda emerges in a country, to desecrate the land and make life unbearable for the people, the responsibility of the citizens of that country is to organise and bring about genuine change rather running into exile like a scaredy-cat, to seek asylum. If famine strikes your population, Africans are very creative people; homegrown solutions can be applied. Africans and Nigerians in particularly, constitute a major embarrassment to the continent and the country, through this asylum nonsense.
Under the erstwhile Abacha's dictatorship in Nigeria, I resisted the lure of living overseas, in spite of the unprecedented tortures, detentions and harassment; I suffered in the tyrannical hands of that bloodthirsty junta.
Even when many of my colleagues abroad offered to work for a refuge status for me, I refused. I vowed to die at the battlefield rather than dieing in my kitchen. I was part of the core group that fought the regime in Nigeria until it crashed shamefully. The struggle will continue, though the military are no longer in power. We do not have a Democracy, what we have is Obasanjocracy, the worst form of civilian rule. Those seeking to run away from their homes for reason of worrying trend of extra-judicial killings, torture, illegal detention, disappearances, massacres and other human rights violations or poverty are not serious folks.
The rulers in those countries where they are running to are ruling their people well not because they want to, but they just have to, because of fear of their citizens, the repercussion against them, in or outside power. In our own case, instead of facing the challenges, we are leaving everything in either the hands of the African or European God or what have you. We must develop the courage to live and live well. The courage to make sacrifices without expecting anything in return, the courage to challenge evil under any guise; as a people we face an existentialist challenge whether to survive or perish in our homeland.
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