An over-loaded migrant boat

Shock, anguish and condemnations have continued to trail the death of 26 Nigerian women, mostly between the ages of 14-18 years, as many have said it was high time the Federal Government took urgent steps to address the migrant issues in the country.

Rescuers had recovered dead bodies from the Spanish ship ‘Cantabria’ in the harbour of Salerno, Italy on Sunday, including 26 Nigerian women, which most Nigerians described as one death, too many, given the regularity of such, especially in recent times.

Many Nigerians, who reacted to these deaths on call-in radio programmes monitored in Lagos, blamed them partly on the harsh economic conditions in the country.

According to them, such deaths would have been avoided if successive governments in the country put in place social welfare schemes that would address the needs of the youths of the country.

It was also argued that the high rate of unemployment in the country, especially among the youths, was a major contributory factor, a development that calls for urgent attention on the part of the government.

He said: “There is massive exodus of Nigerians even among noble professions in the country including medical doctors, lecturers and so many others in search of greener pastures, thus worsening the brain drain problem in the country. These are issues that should ordinarily occupy the minds of the government and politicians because the social contract should be all about the people”.

“You cannot tell me that these crop of Nigerians would have been leaving the shores of this country even to the neighbouring African countries if the ‘pastures’ here are green enough to take care of them. Government should as a matter of urgency step up its economic recovery and growth plan”.

Meanwhile, another radio analyst, who faulted the idea of Nigerians seeking greener pastures in unsafe jurisdictions such as Libya, argued that many have this notion that the lands flow with ‘milk and honey’ outside Nigeria, not knowing that there is no place like home.

He argued that many of these women, who seek greener pastures in Italy and Russia pay their principals as much as $6,000 (N2million) was enough to start up a small business that could sustain anyone in the country.

A report by the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC, on Monday had said that a Spanish warship, Cantabria, which docked in the city, was found to be carrying 375 rescued migrants and the dead women.

The report also said that 23 of the dead women were on a rubber boat with 64 other people.

It was further gathered that the bodies of women, some of who were sexually abused were kept in a refrigerated section of the warship.

The BBC also reports that most of the 375 survivors brought to Salerno were sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Sudan.

Among them were 90 women – eight of them pregnant – and 52 children. There were also some Libyan men and women on board.