Duru: Religious, traditional leaders should preach against unplanned migration
President/Founder of Re-educating Africans on the Risks & Dangers of Unplanned Journeys Abroad & Empowering the Youths (RARDUJA), Eddy Duru, told ENO-ABASI SUNDAY that reported cases of deaths of irregular migrants appears not to be enough deterrent for Nigerian youths because many of them have lost hope and faith in the country due to failed leadership. Duru, who is foreigners’ representative at the Kassel Hessen Senate, Kessel, Germany, where he is serving in both house committees on education, and integration, added that with the influence they wield, traditional and religious leaders must speak loud against unplanned migration.
With stories of Nigerian youths being sold into slavery popping up in the midst of the thriving human trafficking trade, is there enough awareness by the Federal Government on the dangers of trafficking in persons and irregular migration to Europe?
Obviously, there is not enough awareness by the Federal Government about the dangers of trafficking and unplanned migration. Though much has been done by the Nigerian government, in comparism with other African nations, but a lot still needs to be done by the Nigerian government to sufficiently warn those that are nursing such idea.
The incessant reported cases of deaths in transit appears to be not enough deterrent for intending illegal migrants. Why so?
Many Nigerians have lost hope and faith in the country because of failed leadership. However, it is not always easy to convince someone, who may have already committed his money to traffickers. The awarness creation is also not enough because one must also understand that even when one succeeds in getting to Europe, the journey has just begun. Those in Europe must also present the true situation in Europe to those back at home, and stop deceiving them.
How much of a moral burden does the continuous migration to Europe and the attendant deaths foist on us as a country ?
Well, the moral burden is a huge one. A country that has no physical war, migrating at such magnitude is very worrisome.
It appears government’s efforts at curbing the mass exodus is not bearing fruits. So, in what ways can traditional and religious institutions help to arrest the situation, which has already got out of hand?
The traditional and religious institutions are major stakeholders in this issue, especially the religious leaders. RARDUJA encourages traditional leaders to organise their subjects for periodic awarness seminars on unplanned migration. Religious leaders are very important in this campaign as well because of the influence that they have over their flock. I call religious leaders ‘government’ because a religious group that has 100 to 1, 000, 000 members under its control is a force to reckon with, hence RARDUJA is also calling on religious organisations to carry out awareness campaigns and continue to educate their members on the dangers of irregular migration.
Your group recently partnered the German Foreign Affairs Ministry to create awareness among schoolchildren on the dangers of unplanned trips abroad. What prompted the partnership?
Yes, RARDUJA International and The African Network of Germany (TANG), with the support of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany, are still carrying out enlightenment campaigns in schools, churches and universities across Nigeria.
RARDUJA has been on this campaign for about two decades now. As part of the campaign, we go to schools, communities, churches and higher institutions in a bid to re-educate Nigerians, especially the youths on the risks and dangers of unplanned trips abroad. We also empower these youths in the process. And we are inviting interested persons and groups to support our efforts towards achieving results in these areas. It is alarming to note that Nigeria lost over 27, 000 of her citizens in 2016 alone, while they were trying to cross to Europe through the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
Why is your organisation into this kind of advocacy?
RARDUJA is an acronym which means
Having lived in Germany over 20 years, and having had the opportunity to travel around the world, I had first-hand experience, and came face-to-face with Africans, who migrated especially to Europe unplanned. Their failed expectations, lost dreams, the frustrations, the misery, the cry, the self-induced slavery, the mental torture, the deaths and the successess I was exposed to. In the face of all these and more, I felt that the little I could do was to bring the true story of life in Europe back home to our people, hence the Reeducating Africans on the Risks and Dangers of Unplanned Journeys Abroad and Empowering the Youths.
I also wrote a book titled, Europe, A Mission Misunderstood, which was launched in 2010, in Kassel, Germany, and another book titled, Fundamentals Of Trafficking In Person.
When purpose is not known, abuse becomes inevitable. So, we do not ask people not to travel, but we say a big no to unplanned trips abroad, especially through the desert and the sea, irrespective of once present situation. RARDUJA, which is in Germany, Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia and Ethiopia, is doing its best with its little budget with the ultimate aim of reducing the death of Africans travelling illegally through the sea and desert.