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Illegal Migration to and from Libya, the Nigerian Factor and the EU: An Agenda for a Resolution

This paper takes a cursory and insightful examination of the socio-economic implications of the illegal migration to and from Libya. It aims to provide an interrogation of the underlying causes and exacerbation of the development, its transformation to new forms of slavery and source of income for certain criminal elements, the role of the EU, and how it affects Nigerians and other sub-Saharan African citizens. The paper recommends that the European Union, Nigeria’s federal government, and other sub-Saharan African leadership should endeavor to man their borders very strategically and engage with the Libyan authorities effectively to reduce the illegal migration. Finally, the work recommends that the United Nations Commission for Refugees, International Organization on Migration, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and importantly, more stable governments of the Middle East, especially Turkey and Egypt should intervene in the process to curtail further conflicts in Libya.

Illegal Migration to and from Libya the Nigerian Factor and
Migrants wait to be rescued by members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the Mediterranean Sea, some 12 nautical miles North of Libya, October 4, 2016. At least 1,800 migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast on that day alone. ARIS MESSINIS / AFP
 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

It is appropriate to begin this analysis with a historical account of the major actors in the migration to and from Libya. The first of these is Libya, even though there are many actors within the country itself perpetrating the crimes of exploiting the plight of the migrants who arrive in their territory. The actors within Libya include the many splinter militia groups participating in the lucrative slave business developing in that country; as well as the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who claim that they are involved in Redemption Missions to save the victims of human trafficking to Europe and other countries of the world. The last of the actors in Libya are the contesting powers, one of which is the Government of National Accord (GNA) recognized by the United Nations and the international community, and her major opposition, the government of Khalifa Haftar who has continuously challenged the authority of the GNA. In terms of international reckoning, it may be argued that trafficking in persons is now the third most profitable business for organized crime after the drugs and arms trade. Indeed, the phenomenon is inherently detrimental and violates fundamental human rights to life, liberty, dignity, and freedom from discrimination. The result of this is that migrants who fall into the hands of these militants become prey to being maltreated misled or could be sold off as slaves, a new trend of the migrant problem now manifesting in Libya. From the point of view of economics, Libya remains the supplier through its self-designed detention camps and facilities which number about 30-35 depots at various centers in the country.1

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