Kingsley Ohajunwa: The EU Migrant Crisis; A Lesson For Africa

The mere fact that a good number of things in life come in two forms is a special reason to appreciate the beauty of life itself. This does not happen for objects alone, it happens for events, philosophies, ideas and human actions. So for every North, there is a South; for every up, there is a down; there lies a West somewhere; for a good action, we can also examine the bad part and ultimately for every action there is a consequence; for every cause, there is an effect. As ordinary as this may seem or perhaps as humorously ironic as this may seem it goes a long way towards helping us understand how double-faced life and events which take place in it can be. There will always be two sides to a coin!

In 1945 when the United Nations (UN) was established it was done with the primary aim of preventing a re-occurrence of events which happened between 1914-1918 which was the First World War and those which happened between 1939-1945 which was the Second World War. These two wars claimed the lives of several millions and as with most other human actions still have their effects which can still be traced till date. While death is the immediate consequence of war, distant effects include increase in the number of orphans and refugees; wanton spread of hunger due to damaged farmlands and means of commercial food production; sickness and outbreak of diseases; aggressive and hostile behavior of the refugees towards other people. These consequences will continually be the result of wars which of course are fallouts from political, economic, social and religious relationships that exist among countries. All of these in turn create more responsibility for the UN to handle. While we understand that relationships, whether between individuals, institutions or countries can go sour at any point, efforts must be made to ensure they don’t culminate into war and its resultant effects.

Of course all continents in the world have their challenges with some being ecological and social while others may be economic, it is worrisome when by what appears to be deliberate actions humans create issues for themselves; this brings us to the migrant crisis currently rocking Europe. Over the last decade there have been veracious attacks of some regions by others, there have also been internal scuffles which have left many dead, there have been extreme show of belligerence which have not only left people dead, but have left several others injured, homeless and ultimately displaced. It may be unnecessary examining the root causes of these shows of human violence. What is necessary however is whether they are justifiable or not and then the effects of the actions. But then can we also agree that there is little or no justifiable reason to engage in violence especially when the outcome can easily be envisaged. In other words before the action is carried out we already have a clear image of what the effect(s) will be. Since an action has a foreseeable outcome of disaster, then why can’t efforts be channeled towards avoiding such? But because this is not a moral piece the author shall not like to thread the moral path.

Our focus is the effect; this aspect of our discourse has seen to the homelessness of several thousands who have now resorted to seeking refuge in some European countries. In what appears to be a compulsion of some sort the European Union (EU) must now seek ways to manage these scores of displaced individuals. Indeed there is a problem! Lately we have seen aggression shown by these displaced migrants towards security agents who have barricaded the Serbia-Hungary border which has in turn turned out violent and attracted international attention. In addition to this certain European nations against their prior policies on cutting down on the number of illegal immigrants are now having to accommodate a certain part of these refugees. Furthermore it is financially and economically demanding as funds will have been made available for their welfare while the various accommodating economies will now be stretched to align with the immediate negative changes. The social effect of this can be in perceived hostility, deprivation and maybe being ostracized by citizens of the host countries.

Considering the fact that it is perceived that Europe has a better crisis-management mechanism which enables it recover and stabilize better but yet face such level of consternation and ultimately bewilderment in the face of such issues, how then will Africa fair when faced with such? Let’s also not forget that Africa has been termed and portrays itself to be a developing continent. It is therefore time Africa looked inwards to address some of its burning issues such as terrorism, wanton spread of hunger and poverty, unemployment, bad governance and corruption. While it may be argued that things will not or ever get to the point where military violence, airstrikes and war will cause serious issues of individuals having to flee their home countries, the above-mentioned vices can in some manner result to this as well. It will be wise in understanding that at this point Africa’s interest should be channeled at developing itself from within. To a lot of political and social commentators the EU Migrant crisis would have hitherto been a phenomenon that could never have gotten to the level it is, at least considering the seemingly robust nature of diplomatic relations among countries, the efforts of regional organizations and the vibrant modus-operandi of international organizations. In spite of all these we see a Europe which is battling to heal a self-inflicted injury on its foot. Africa surely has a lot to learn from this!

Africa has had its share of wars and internal scuffles; its resolve to move forward in spite of this and ensure they never happen again is what makes all the difference. Already the continent is faced with developmental challenges which should over the decades have been solved; however it’s still battling with them. This on its own is enough task for the continent. Let’s not forget that the value of every immigrant is calculated based on the marketable skills, knowledge or resources they bring into a country. This in its own regard worsens the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) and of course reduces its Per Capita Income Index. It therefore stands in contrast to the concept of economic growth. Of what use will refugees be to any country and its economy? Why then should Africa by its actions or inactions thrive to promote events that only increase the number of displaced persons? The EU situation is only a verisimilitude example of explaining how related and closely-knitted together countries can be especially when it comes to desperate measures of survival; if this be the case why can’t such closeness by used for the advancement of developmental programmes which better promote healthy human co-existence within the continent. This piece does not by any means promote unhealthy and selfish development agenda of countries at the detriment of others, it basically calls for logic, fairness and deep considerations to be applied when issues of regional and international diplomacy calls.

Kingsley Ohajunwa is a Nigerian writer. He can be reached via email on

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates