Editor’s note: The news of the enslavement of Africans by other Africans especially by Libya has elicited global reaction at the inhuman activities.
In this opinion by Bada Yusuf, he points out the importance of the historical perspective of slavery in Africa and how this should help dissuade this terrible activities.
Africans Should Not Enslave Africans
It is of common sense that Africa has history of slavery. Common sense however, is the minimum amount of humanistic act that is expected of an ordinary person. From this assertion, it is expected of all Africans to be aware of their slave history and learn to safeguard history from repeating itself.
Unfortunately, the hope to avert witch acts of a woman from becoming generic will sink into posterity doom, if the woman continues to bear female children. In this twenty first century, Africans still continue to trade their brothers and sisters because of money.
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The tales of Nigerians and other African migrants attempting to reach Europe through Libya is an imbecile catastrophe. The recent media reports on the issue tell that human trafficking is now done in the open and the government of Libya is as strong as broken particles on this matter. Although this recent slavery act is being attributed to the long list outrage in Libya, this outrage has started shortly after the death of Mohammed Gadhaffi. One medium even quoted Mohammed Abdiker, an authority from International Organization for Migration (IOM) that “the latest report of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrage in Libya.
Definitely, Africa is currently mounted with many challenges. The xenophobia in South Africa has so far been attracting the silence of African Union’s intervention. Increase in terrorism under the umbrella of religion and other anti-human act have hijacked the identity of Africa as a continent. However, the influx of African migrants to Europe and America can be associated with high level of poverty and the search for greener pasture, majority believe that the efforts that heed less result here would heed more if same efforts are being exhausted in Europe and America. Meanwhile, the root jailers of Africa after colonization are governments of African states. The trend of human trafficking in Africa does not start today. Nigeria as a case study, people get house help, sales persons and so on, not on the mutual agreement between individual who is willing to employ and the employee but through what I would rather refer to as ‘middlemen’ who would travelled to villages in interior areas, these areas are what some Yorubas in Lagos refer to as Ilu Oke, this refers to any city after Ibadan. Sometime, they go to neighbouring African states such as Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana. In my interaction with some of the traded persons, I have learnt that the parents/guardians of these victims (mostly girl child) in most cases release them based on certain amount of money that will be paid to them, mostly on yearly bases.
From my observation, these children are often within the age of ten to sixteen. Most of the time, they don’t spend more than a year or two with one employer. This is how the middlemen prevent them from understanding the geography of the environment in order not to run away or grow the intellect for self development and independent. This also prevents some employers who have human feelings for them not to send them to school or does anything that could make them think of better ways of life than what they are. The middlemen in most cases also collect gifts (mostly material things such as cloths) given to these children when they want to leave one place and give these gifts to their parents in the name of them (the middlemen).
From my observation presently, most Nigerian middlemen have shifted their total attention from the Ilu-Oke’s children to neigbouring countries’ children; this is so because of the general assumption that they are now corrupt. However, I would like to advice the government to intensify border security consciousness in order to cub this act and as well enhance its education policy to favour the people at the middle and lower class, because lack of education and exposure will continue to expand amoral behaviors. In addition, I still believe that Nigeria can still influence and enhance the unity of Africa and propel countries like South Africa, Libya’s government to find lasting solutions to these problems.
BADA YUSUF AMOO Department of English and Literary Studies Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
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