Monday 25 November 2019


A book, 'Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe' was launched in Abuja. It is a publication of UNDP. Why would anyone sell all his belongings and borrow money just to travel into the unknown? Migration itself is a good thing, but when it is 'irregular' and young Africans die in droves on the high seas before they reach their destination, then something is wrong.

Photo above L-R: Sunday Dare (Nigeria's Minister of Youth & Sports), Mrs. Adejoke Adefulire (SSA to Nigeria's President on SDGs & Fmr. Deputy Governor of Lagos State), Mrs. Amina Mohammed (UN Deputy Secretary-General & Nigeria's fmr. Minister of Environment) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa (Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert) @ the launch of 'Scaling Fences...'

The 124 page book is easy to read and well illustrated with maps and compelling photos. The references are distinctly annotated to the delight of any seasoned academic! There are 4 major chapters in the book:

*Life at home
*Motivation & drivers
*Life on the other side
*Attitudes to return

A dismal picture is painted of 'life at home'.   Poverty levels are very high. Unemployment is rife. There is a lack of basic facilities like - water, electricity, housing, etc. Poor governance is a major factor. 'The core message arising from this study, that migration is a reverberation of uneven development and particularly of a development trajectory that is failing young people, sends a strong signal to policymakers'. (Scaling Fences, p. vi).

What are the drivers of irregular migration? 'Irregular migration for those interviewed, is an investment in a better future. This view is embraced by individuals whose development trajectory is already in ascendance, enabling a radical rejection of the constraining circumstances at home. This mindset enables them to scale metaphorical and even physical fences in order to attain personal fulfillment and better opportunities'. (Scaling Fences, p. 5).

Life on the other side. Humans always believe that 'the grass is greener on the other side'. But in reality, this adage is not always right. The illegal migrant soon finds out that he/she might just be better off at home. But this reality check is rather late in the day, since he/she is not ready to leave the host country immediately. There is always a desire not to return empty-handed.

The following observations were made by the panelists:

*'Ungoverned migration needs to be transformed into governed migration to halt the many dangerous mishaps that take the lives of some of these migrants.
*Good governance in African countries is a sine qua non for halting the exodus of youths from the continent.
*There should be transformative  development that expands opportunities and choice for African citizens within their nation states.
*African nation states should build inclusive economies.
*The legal pathways for becoming a regular migrant need to be expanded beyond 'asylum'.
*There should be constant public engagement that defines new and positive discourse on migration.
*The 'Global Compact' for Migration should be constantly fine-tuned.

It was indeed a rewarding time for me being in the room with the UN Deputy Secretary-General and other eminent personalities, discussing 'irregular migration.'

Related Links

*Internal migration in Nigeria: A positive contribution to human development
*Libya: Bound for Libya, then resettlement, refugees tread dangerous path>middleeast >bound-libya-then...
*Recognising the high value of Africa's migrants
*The story of migration is more positive than we are led to believe
*Covid-19 has left many refugees & IDPs in despair
*Human trafficking
*For refugee girls and women, the prospect of attaining higher education is very slim
*Refugees' return should be quickly followed by re-settlement
*Record 29 million Africans are forcibly displaced
*MADE 51: Supporting Refugee Entrepreneurs  #WorldRefugeeDay 
*Nigeria's displacement dilemma
*Migration is a safety net during climate change disasters
*When the Polish were refugees in Africa
*Not just a crisis: A conversation on Africa migration
*Putting the citizens at the centre of good governance in africa
*Managing trafficking in Niger
*The security implications of human  trafficking
*Immigrants and their positive contributions in the CoV era:
*Migration: A critical climate change strategy
*Trailer: Europe's Achilles Heel: The asylum and migration regime unpacked
*Portugal gives migrants full citizenship rights during CoV outbreak
* California to give illegal migrants hurt by Covid-19 $125m in cheques
*Covid-19: Migration & Africa's eternal lock-down
*Refugee debates have an African history problem   https://africasacountry/com/2020/10/refugee-debates.../
*Time to make the world a fairer place for refugees
*Voices in the wind: Perspectives on the refugee experience
*17 year old Cameroonian displaced by regional conflict builds remote-controlled toys
*How to address Africa's displacement crisis
*Essentialism and the making of African refugees


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