By Nelson Manneh
The Gambia ‘Backway’ Returnees (GBR) on Wednesday, August 29th, held an awareness campaign on Irregular Migration at the Youth Monument in Westfield. The project which is sponsored by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the International Organization for Migrantion (IOM), is designed to inform the people on the dangers involved in irregular migration, particularly the migrant root going through Libya.
In his remarks Lamin Fadera, the Chairperson of GBR, said the project is aimed to create awareness on irregular migration, and to engender positive behavioural change among young people, so that they can take advantage of the available local opportunities and make a better living in their countries of origin.
“The youth should know that they can make it in the Gambia, because there are opportunities existing locally, to make their dreams come true. All we need, is to start small and grow big, because even Rome, was not built in a day,” he noted. Fadera said migration is a must but should be done safely and in a regular manner to save lives, properties and resources.
He urged the authorities to support youth development programs, formulate good policies and ensure their effective implementation, to combat irregular migration.
Kemo Bojang, the Youth Councillor from Kanifing Municipal Council, said all the youth who ventured in the common ‘backway’ journey, have substantial reasons that are best known to them.
“Nobody will just want to go and lose his or her life in the Mediterranean sea, without reason,” he said. As the youth representative at the Council, Bojang said they will work hard to make sure the youth achieve their dreams in their mother land.
Muhammed Bah, one of the returnees who narrated his experience, said he joined the journey in 2015 but stopped in Libya and came back home with the help of IOM. Bah who was in his tears as he spoke, said one of his best friend passed away in the desert and was buried there, while they continued on the journey.
“It is sad to say, but Libya is where people can be killed and beaten without anybody saying anything,” he said. Bah added that in Libya, they were treated like savages.
The GBR was formed in 2017, after a batch of one hundred and fifty youth were airlifted back home. The youth came together to sanitized the public on their experience and what they have faced during the cause of their journey.