Kidnap, torture and deportation: De gbege waka of a Nigerian waka abroad persin

Since dem launch de International Organization for Migration (IOM) voluntary return programme for May 2017, na more dan 7,600 Nigerian waka anroad pipu dem don bring back come Nigeria. Dese young pipu, wey don travel pass de world’s ogbongest ways as irregular waka abroad pipu, dey come back with stories of kidnap, torture and oda kind of abuse and bad treatment.

De Migrant Project talk to Johnson Timothy from Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, who dey among plenty Nigerians who don risk deir lives make dem reach Europe, and whom dem dey send back as dem dey reach dere.

As im talk say, im waka thru de desert na, “horrible experience”, Johnson talk of wan encounter wey fear am well well, with criminals wey dem sabi as de Asma Boiz. Im explain say dem chase im gropu and shoot dem. “I no wan remember wetin I see for desert,” na wetin he talk.

For Libya, dem kidnap am and torture am. He only get freedom wen him family membas send moni from Nigeria to pay his ransom.

On de way to de water town of Zuwura, where he enta rubber boat and cross de Mediterranean, Johnson face more wahala. Dem pack am insode van wit 40 oda waka abroad pipu, and he fear arrest. Say make dem pass and dem no go see dem, de man for de group wear clothe like woman, and dem dey cover deir face for checkpoints.

Even afta dem don leave Libya successfully, Johnson no dey free from danger. De person wey dey sail de boat leave de waka abroad pipu comot for sea, and leave Johnson may him lead de boat reach de shore of Italy. Dis action na im make dem send Johnson back. He talk say: “For inside de 87 of dem wey dem rescue, na only him dem send back home. Dem talk say him dey bring Africans from Libya to Italy.”

For 2016, de Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) talk say na ova 16,000 Nigerians wey risk deir lives to reach oda countries dem return back to deir home country.

Thinking on his ogbonge waka, Johnson state: “I neva wan go thru dat kain experience for life again.”

TMP – 29/12/2018

Photo: Edward Crawford. African waka abroad pipu wey dey waka by railway line