“Due to the economic crisis, myself and other millions of Nigerians lost our jobs last year. I used to work as a journalist and media consultant. Nigeria couldn’t export oil so there was no money. They are now trying to diversify the economy, but it will take a long time. Seeing as there were no jobs, with the little money we had, we went looking for work abroad.
I decided to go to Algeria hoping to find better opportunities. For the three months I was there, I was teaching English and doing some other small jobs as well. I witnessed a lot of discrimination and a fragile justice system during my time there. I wanted to earn enough money to jumpstart my radio career, but there just weren’t enough jobs so I decided to go back home.
On the way back, they dropped us off in the desert, took our bags and money, and my camera. I had to take on a few manual jobs that I wasn’t used to. I had no choice because I wanted to go back home. There was no one to help you, no phones to call your family. It was a painful experience, but also a good learning experience.
In Arlit, a couple of Gambians told me about IOM’s transit centres so I ended up going to Agadez. During my one month there, I learned French and took free entrepreneurship classes. On one hand, it’s sad because I left home empty handed and I’m going back empty handed. But on the other hand, because of the classes I took in Agadez, I am entitled to a grant that has just been approved. Going back, I feel like everything I have ever dreamt of is coming to fruition.
We need to sensitize Africa about irregular migration and its alternatives. Africa is a place of hope, of hard working people, we don’t need to leave. What I learned from my journey is that there’s nothing special about Europe. What they do have there is more jobs, laws that are being obeyed, and less corruption.
Education is a powerful tool. When you educate people, they come back home. In Africa, people often don’t have access to education so they can only do manual jobs. If you don’t educate your people, you can never grow as a country. I, myself, want to work on my career before I start thinking about having a family.”