Raphael Ede, Enugu
“The streets of overseas are not paved with gold neither are the pastures greener out there.” That is the campaign a non-governmental organisation, Re-educating Africans on the Risks and Dangers of Unplanned Journey Abroad (RARDUJA) has taken to secondary schools and tertiary institutions in Enugu State.
Concerned by the increasing deaths of African migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in their craze to go to Europe for greener pastures, RARDUJA has taken it upon itself to mount aggressive campaign to arrest the trend.
Addressing over 2,000 students at the Queens Secondary School, Enugu, Nike Grammar School, Enugu and the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), respectively, president/founder RARDUJA, Eddy Duru said the misconception of going abroad for greener pastures had ruined many Nigerians. According to him, more than 3,000 Nigerians were in detention camps across Europe.
The Nigerian-born German legislator disclosed that his organisation would take the campaign to 14 institutions comprising 10 secondary schools, two churches and two universities across the country this year.
While he called on Nigerians and other Africans to avoid the bid to migrate to Europe illegally, Duru who is member representing foreigners in Hessen State Germany and House Committee member on Immigration and Education Matters, revealed that thousands of Africans, especially Nigerians had lost their lives, got enslaved and some others got their organs removed and sold in the bid to be abroad.
Over 27,000 Nigerians seeking greener pastures abroad diein their quest to reach Europe through the deserts, Duru stated, noting that RARDUJA was in Enugu schools to continue with the campaign of re-educating Africans on the risks and dangers of unplanned journey abroad.
“The purpose of every journey must be defined because when purpose is not known, abuse becomes inevitable. A mission misunderstood can never be accomplished.
“Having lived in Europe for over 18 years and having had the opportunity to travel around the world, I have a first-hand experience on several issues affecting Africans in Europe, the difficulties, the death, the failed expectations, the lies, the frustration and the successes.
“Based on my knowledge, experience and passion for mankind, it has become necessary to present the true situation in Europe and beyond to our African folks, especially the youths. Our mission is to re-educate Africans on the risks and dangers of unplanned journey abroad and to empower the youths in any way we can,” he stated.
Aside schools and faith centres like churches and mosques, Duru said the NGO also embarks on street campaign, one and one contact as well as deploy the media.
Speaking at the awareness seminars tagged: “Say no to unplanned journey abroad” supported by German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director of National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP), Enugu Zone, Mrs. Agboko Comfort informed the students that over 90 per cent females who embarked on unplanned journey abroad and were lucky to make it to Europe ended up in prostitution.
Agboko curiously asked the students how many of them would want to travel abroad, saw all hands raised, but urged them not to allow themselves to be deceived by human traffickers because they would only end up being exploited sexually.
Also, Chairman, Enugu State Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), Nestor Ezeme represented by Mrs. Ngozi Maduekpone thanked RARDUJA for coming to enlighten the students.
One of the students of Queens School, Enugu, Chinenye Una, praised the organisers saying she was opportune to be chosen for the programme. She advised fellow Nigerian students that there is no shortcut to success.
The school principal, Mrs Ezigbo Nzeako said she was overwhelmed that RARDUJA chose her school for the awareness seminar.