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18
Mon, Dec

Don’t just travel, travel right

Some Ghanaian returnees from Libya

The history of the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location is an age-old practice that will never stop as far as the human race exists.

People have moved from one country to another sometimes freely or have been compelled by circumstances to migrate from their countries of origin.

Even within common geographical entities, many citizens migrate from one part of the country to another to seek “greener pastures.”

Many citizens savour the idea of travelling to other countries for studies, tourism or just to seek greener pastures. It is a fact that when people travel abroad, unemployment is reduced and young migrants enhance their life prospects. In some countries, the remittances they send home sometimes outstrip foreign aid.

Returning migrants also bring with them savings, skills and international contacts but in spite of the many good stories told by diasporans, there are very dehumanising tales of maltreatment and suffering of immigrants in the various countries of sojourn.

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In recent times, hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe. There have been tales of migrants dying on the expansive desert in their attempt to cross the continent, sometimes on foot, to Europe and of overcrowded migrant boats capsizing on the North African coast.

Indeed, about 5,000 African migrants are known to have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the past year, with almost 37,000 migrants having entered Italy alone, according to International Organisation for Migration figures.

Last Wednesday, 127 Ghanaians who were detained in Libya on illegal migration charges were repatriated home. The Ghanaians, who were on transit to Europe, were detained in Libya, which is a transit point to Europe for many African youth from mainly East and West Africa.

The Daily Graphic is of the opinion that the return of 127 Ghanaians from Libya last Wednesday is a wake-up call for citizens to reconsider their plans to travel abroad.

The returnees, many of whom looked frail, famished and tired, recounted tales of physical, verbal and emotional abuse; murder and robbery that they had suffered in that country.

We note that this is not the first time Ghanaians have had to be evacuated from Libya or other foreign countries by the government. Less than a decade ago, millions of dollars were spent to evacuate Ghanaians from that country. The evacuees returned with similar stories and vowed never to return but rather stay in the country to eke a living.

Libya is not the only country where Ghanaians and other nationalities are being subjected to such treatment. There are stories of young Ghanaian females who are lured to some Middle East countries with the promise of good jobs.

Agents who recruit such people are so sweet-tongued that even young artisans who would otherwise have grown into highly successful entrepreneurs are known to be selling off their possessions in the hope of “making it big” there. But we must pause to think about these travels.

The Daily Graphic is aware that the unemployment situation in the country is the primary reason why many Ghanaians leave under very risky conditions. Our appeal to our countrymen and women is for us to weigh critically the prospects of travel before undertaking any such ventures.

Although we must “travel and see,” we must of necessity, travel right.