Bizarre: 300 Ghanaians to die in Libya for loitering?

Wed, 23 Dec 2015 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, December 21, 2015

Folks, I have been bothered by news reports concerning the plight of Ghanaians leaving Ghana for so-called "greener pastures" only to end up in worse circumstances than what they might be fleeing from.

Having already been exposed to the fate of migrants reaching Europe or perishing in the attempt to leave their countries, I am tempted to wonder why at all people should put their lives at risk this way. And I am particularly alarmed when it is about Ghanaians. If for nothing at all, the Ghanaian condition is far better than exists elsewhere, regardless of what the government is able to provide or not. It all has to do with one's ability to do what one can where one is with what one has. Yet, Ghanaians (the youth, particularly) choose to move out to seek fortunes; and they run into serious problems.

Interestingly, while they are deserting the country, foreign nationals (Nigerians, Chinese, etc.) are gravitating toward Ghana to exploit the situation and make it big time in life. Paradoxical. The foreigners see what the Ghanaians cannot see about the abundance of opportunities in the country. And they go for it to the chagrin of the unseeing Ghanaians themselves. At least, that's what some of my Nigerian friends have told me. The journey out of Ghana is always rough.

Whether it is about crossing the vast and inhospitable Sahara Desert to reach Libya or Egypt; whether it has to do with stowing away on ships or aircraft to reach Europe, Asia, the United States, or South America, the danger is always high and unavoidable. Even if it has to do with African countries, there is always a high risk factor, especially for those embarking on such ventures without any proper documentation or assurance of security and safety on the journey or at the end of it.

Over the years, Ghanaians have been lured by fanciful stories of a "Happy Ending" elsewhere to leave the country only to end up in worse circumstances. The going is not easy anywhere in this world. The situation becomes really alarming if they get caught up in circumstances unknown to them before they left Ghana; for instance, the case of those trafficking drugs to places like Indonesia, Singapore, etc., or others where practices don't allow immorality. Eventually, they come face-to-face with the grim reality.

Some have been executed for flouting the strict laws on drug trafficking while others have been given long jail terms for violating the norms. Yet, many more are willing to leave the country.

News reports have it that "Over 300 Ghanaians will be sentenced to death in Libya on Monday, December 21, 2015, if the Ghana Embassy does not intervene. The detainees, according to reports, have been in prison in Libyan town called Pejora for the past three months awaiting the intervention of officials from the Ghana Embassy.

A Ghanaian domiciled in Libya, Yaw Tekyi in an interview with Adom News said the only chance of survival for the detainees is for officials of the Ghana Embassy in Libya to show up in court. He said their crime was loitering around in town because they had nowhere to go when they reached Libya to seek greener pastures." (See https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Over-300-Ghanaians-to-be-sentenced-in-Libya-today-402261).

Folks, this issue is disheartening for all that it entails. Ghanaians are known to have suffered adversities in Libya (even in the era of the "friendly" Muammar Ghadaffi when Ghana had good relations with Libya). The current situation in Libya is worse and should have forewarned Ghanaians not to attempt being in that country. But they have resisted the odds to be there. Who will want to be in Libya in this turbulent time but Ghanaians daring the devil?

I am disturbed that they are being rounded up for no serious crime but "loitering around" (because they have nowhere to reside). Oh, Ghanaman!! Why leave your own country (the land of freedom, where no one cares where one finds oneself anywhere at any time of the day) only to be so degraded in Libya?

I am more worried that the Ghanaian authorities will now have to step in to avert a worse disaster. I know how lazy the Ghanaian Missions abroad are, and wish that someone will step in to help these poor compatriots. But it shouldn't become the norm for all manner of people to leave the country at their own volition only to end up in such deplorable circumstances and shift the responsibility to the Missions.

Tell these people not to run out of the country without adequate support or assurance of being accepted wherever they want to go and they will insult you. They will always justify their decision to emigrate with the claim that the Mahama-led administration isn't solving problems and that they can fare better in other systems. Unfortunately, these are mostly unskilled labourers not welcome wherever they go, apparently because there are equally unskilled labourers in the target countries who cannot make ends meet. So, the influx of such Ghanaians threatens the system all the more.

The solution? Round them up and give them what punishment will deter others from following suit. This particular problem is disturbing. I wish that the Ghanaian Embassy in Libya will step in to save the situation. Meantime, Ghanaians need to know that "nowhere cool". But will they, especially when everyone’s mind seems to be beclouded by the dirty rhetoric from the anti-Mahama politicians blaming every mishap in Ghana on the NDC administration? Tweeeeeaa!!

Even in the almighty United States, there is a high level of homelessness and desperation. In New York, for instance, the vagrants (legitimate citizens of the country defeated by the Fates) are now occupying the international La Guardia Airport because they have nowhere to live. Nowhere cool, my folks!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.