Chaos in Libya, Mediterranean crossing more deadly – Group warns young Nigerians

The Migration Enlightenment Project Nigeria (MEPN) has warned would-be migrants to avoid irregular routes as the security situation in Libya worsens and death rates in the Mediterranean soar.

In a statement released Tuesday in Lagos and jointly signed by the co-directors of the initiative, Kenneth Gbandi and Femi Awoniyi, the MEPN pointed to the declaration of a state of emergency in Tripoli on Sunday (3 September) and the new UNHCR report on casualties in the Mediterranean, showing the increased danger of seeking to travel to Europe irregularly.

Quoting the UNHCR report, which was published on Monday, the MEPN revealed that while the number of migrants arriving in Europe from Libya had dropped, the proportion of people lost at sea had sharply increased.

“A higher proportion of people are dying at sea, with one death for every 18 persons who arrived in Europe via the central Mediterranean route between January and July this year compared to one death for every 42 in the same period in 2017,” notes the group, quoting the UN refugee agency.

“The latest report poignantly shows that seeking to cross the sea in unsafe vessels amounts to sheer suicidal adventure,” the MEPN, a Germany-based Nigerian diaspora initiative currently carrying out a safe migration campaign in the country, said.  Some 1,600 people are feared to have died on the central Mediterranean route from the start of the year to end of July.

The group also commented on the decision of the UN-backed Government of National Accord to declare a state of emergency in Libya following days of fighting between rival armed groups in Tripoli.

“The renewed clashes have plunged Libya into yet deeper chaos, further jeopardising the lives of about 8,000 migrants trapped and arbitrarily detained in the city’s detention centres. Many of these detainees are Nigerians,” the MEPN said.

“The recent fighting demonstrates that Libya is not a safe place and would-be migrants to Europe should avoid that country as they will be exposed to mortal danger.”

In conclusion, the MEPN advised would-be migrants to seek legal and safe ways of realising their goal to avoid unnecessary suffering and deaths.

Femi Awoniyi


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