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Japa: A Man Returns Home After Futile Attempt to Enter Europe, But He Almost Died in the Mediterranean Sea(Details)

A Lagos State-based fashion designer simply identified as Ejike has detailed how he almost lost his life while trying to make it to Italy in his quest for “a better life”.

According to the information made available on the official website of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an organisation under the United Nations (UN) that promotes humane and orderly migration of people around the world, Ejike left Nigeria “when the future seemed bleak for him in 2017”.

Without proper travel documents, the fashion designer paid N1 million to smugglers for the journey.

                                Ejike Photo

The trip forced him to travel through deadly and irregular channels where he and other migrants constantly hid from authorities and criminal gangs for fear of being hurt or apprehended.

Ejike said that when he and others got to Libya, they were arbitrarily kept in detention camps without food and water for days while they waited for the chance to cross the sea.

The Nigerian further said when the day came to attempt the journey across the Mediterranean, he and other migrants were stripped of all their belongings or documentation and made to occupy a small boat.

“As night fell, high waves rocked the boat, pushing some of us into the water. By morning, we realised 14 people had gone missing,” Ejike said.

“I don’t want to travel again in this way, only in an official way.

“I had enough of Libya. I wanted to go home after all the suffering.”

                     Ejike and his staff Member

Ejike later returned on a voluntary humanitarian flight organised by the IOM in March 2018, after being rescued from the Mediterranean by the Libyan Coast Guard and taken back to Libya where he spent 10 months before his return to Nigeria.

“If I had the right information, I would never have done that. I wasted so much money on this trip,” he said.

After returning to Nigeria, he decided to learn fashion designing with the support of the organisation.

He eventually acquired skills to set up his own fashion designing business.

Today, he is not only self-sufficient but has also employed two staff and is considering expanding the business.

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Segun Akinlabi

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