One of the major problems confronting Europe, especially those in the southern part of the continent, is migration. Because of the harsh economic situation in Africa and Asia, Europe has become the target of economic migrants. Day in and out, there are reports that some of these migrants have been rescued at sea whilst trying to cross over to Europe in ramshackle boats from North Africa, especially Libya.
What is even more worrying is the fact that in most cases, children are involved in the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Whilst some of these migrants have genuine cases of running away from wars in the Middle East and some parts of Africa, others think it is only in Europe that they can make ends meet.
From January to September 2021, it was estimated that 1,369 migrants died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. In 2020, the total number of deaths was pegged at 1,400. These figures, no doubt, are very frightening, but, as we indicated earlier, economic hardship is forcing these migrants to defy the odds. Unfortunately, North Africa is not the only destination for the smuggling of human beings into Europe.
As we put this piece together, Poland has deployed troupes to her border with Belarus to prevent migrants from entering the country, and subsequently, Europe. The migrants, who have been allowed free passage by Belarus, which is fighting an economic war with Europe, are fleeing from war, hunger, and poverty in Syria and other Asian countries. In a nutshell, the prosperity of Europe has now become a curse for them.
Though Ghana is a developing country, whose Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes nowhere near that of the European countries, she has also started experiencing this economic migrant palaver.
The arrival of Malian and Nigerien nationals into this country of ours in the past decade is so overwhelming. These migrants – Malians – have taken over our streets and are harassing drivers and passengers for alms. Somewhere last year, we carried a report to the effect that it has become a lucrative business for some foreigners to transport these economic migrants into the country. Though we expressed concerns over these developments, neither the government nor National Security has taken any interest in it.
Ghana is a small country, but if care is not taken, there will be an explosion in our population growth, with its attendant effect on our infrastructure. Unfortunately, this is not the only problems we should anticipate. Since these migrants are stark illiterates, they end up engaging in high crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping.
Our borders are officially closed, yet the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) was able to intercept scores of migrants who were trying to enter the country through unapproved routes recently. We are lucky the GIS was able to arrest them, but what about others who have, through such illegal means, already entered the country. We seem to be dwelling more on the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) protocols that allow free movement of people in the sub-region, when, as a matter of fact, these protocols are being abused by those who have the intention to enter and stay in Ghana.
Until we ‘shine our eyes’ and start baring our teeth at these economic migrants, as Europe is doing, we will be preparing this country for doom in future. Already, we are being overwhelmed with high crimes, which, hitherto, were alien to us. These are some of the warning signs, and the earlier we wake up from our slumber, the better it will be for us all.