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Posts Tagged ‘Sylva Nze Ifedigbo’

The report of African migrants trying to reach Europe is a daily news item. Many as we know and see frequently in the news meet their deaths in the Mediterranean. According to the International Organization for Migration, many others are being sold by traffickers into slavery in Libya, including for sex, for as little as $200, while others still are killed and their organs harvested for sale in the booming human organ trade.

Many young Africans find that after having paid human traffickers in the hope of finding a better life in Europe, they end up being held hostage by their traffickers who exploit them and their families, turning the dreams of a better life into a nightmare.

The International Organisation for Migration says slave markets and detentions are becoming increasingly common on the illegal migrant routes as criminal gangs cash in on what has become a very sad situation.

According to IOM’s chief of mission in Libya, Othman Belbeisi, selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger. In his words, “Migrants are being sold in markets as a commodity” at a going rate of between $200 and $500” .

While some migrants sold this way managed to escape, many wallowed in captivity for months before being bought free or sold on. Others die and are unaccounted for and many among them are Nigerians fleeing harsh economic situation back at home or simply chasing the myth of greener grass on the other side.

The reality is that for many young people in Nigeria, the ultimate ambition in life is to go abroad. And the exodus has been on forever. There is hardly anyone who does not have a relative or someone who has “checked out.” In the late ‘80s and ‘90s there was a massive brain drain of Academics and professionals following the collapse of our educational institutions, and the persecution of perceived pro-democracy activists by the military dictators who held sway then.

The brain drain continues even today. You see it in the long queues of visa applicants in foreign embassies. I still have vivid memories of the crowd of rowdy, sweaty applicants in a zigzag queue, I saw on my first visit to the UK Visa application centre in Abuja close to a decade ago and how very willing they appeared to endure any kind of manhandling in their quest for a visa.

Such is the value placed on obtaining a visa that it is often a major prayer point in churches and a good course for testimonies. This obsession very easily turns into desperation. Many short-term visa applicants have absolutely no intention of returning. Some on student visas do not honour the terms. They live illegally in the shadows abroad, many getting deported, or jailed. These stories of the fate of their compatriots do not stop those who intend to seek the West’s presumed greener pastures, as the risk is considered one worth taking.

The denial of a visa or deportation does not stop the determined Nigerian immigrant nor does the fear of the dangers associated with migrating illegally. As long as there is a chance of success, no matter how slim, there will be willing people. This has resulted in the growth of what is today an industry of powerful people and their agents, feeding off the gullibility and desperation of young people in the guise of helping them reach their dreams of a better life abroad. These issues form the theme of my new e-book, ‘My Mind Is No Longer Here’ recently published by Bahati Books.

We have read of people who faked travel documents, of folks who braved life inside airtight containers sailing across the sea, of stowaways in the wheel compartment of international flights. We are also quite familiar with the malaise of human trafficking, of young ladies who either by coercion or by choice, are taken to European cities to work as prostitutes and the daredevil journey to Europe through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert and the stormy waves of the Mediterranean.

The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in 2016 warned that the trafficking of Nigerian women to Italy by boat was reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe. About 3,600 Nigerian women arrived by boat into Italy in the first six months of that year, and more than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution in Italy and across Europe, the IOM said.

We need to stem this tide. Many of those who make this trip do not know any better. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigerian government’s agency set up in response to the situation can only do as much. While we continue to clamour for a better deal from the government in terms of the state of the economy which is the ultimate solution to the crisis, we must also step up advocacy and public campaigns targeted at young people on the dangers of falling prey to criminal traffickers.

This is one issue where ideas are needed. It concerns us all because, in small instalments, our country’s future is disappearing…never to be recovered again.

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my-mind-is-no-longer-here-book-image-final1

Yipeee!!! Today, finally my ebook, My Mind Is No Longer Here was release by Bahati Books.

The book is available for purchase Amazon and on the popular Nigerian ebooks platform, Okadabooks app

And as part of the launch, I did an article here for TRUE AFRICA on the general theme of the book.

Someone who has read it said they really liked it.  Buy, enjoy and do share what your thought about it.

And yes, a print version is in the works for all you print book lovers. Just watch this space.

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nze

Since 7 December, The Pigeonhole has been serialising Mother Never Sleeps, an anthology of new african writing put together by Bahati Books in  daily digital instalments delivered straight readers’ devices via the Pigeonhole iOS app, Android app or web reader.

My Story The Confession ,one of the stories in the anthology and is up today.

Hurry now and download The Pigeonhole app on iOS and Andriod to read for free. You can also read on the Web reader here. Its free to sign up.

Do drop a comment to let me know what you thought.

 

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So friends, I have a new story “Will you hug me again?” just published on Brittle Paper, the African literary e-zine of repute dedicated to reinventing African fiction and literary culture.

There’s been quite some interesting feedback from readers. Generally It would appear the story resonates…well,I cant be so sure. Why don’t you find out for yourself and share through the comment section, what you think.

Click here to read. Enjoy!

 

 

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bahati logoSo yes, its done. I am excited to announce that I am now a Bahati Books author. Today, in a series of tweets, I was unveiled as the latest member of #TeamBahati. The publisher will be releasing my debut novel later this year as an ebook. A print version is planned and will be released shortly afterwards.

Bahati Books is an eBook publishing company that aims to bring to global readers captivating and well written African literature by African authors. See more about this innovative and forward thinking publishing house here. Follow them on twitter @bahatiBooks and like their facebook page here

In signing onto Bahati, I am excited at exploring the potentials of digital technology in telling stories especially in Africa. I am convinced that digital is the future and even-though we might not be there yet,  there is a steady move in that direction and I am happy to be among those to herald it.

Whats the novel about? Well not so much details now (I am superstitious like that lol) but just to say the work  is very much engaged with issues of migration and trafficking and the pressures that influence the decision  of  young people to ‘check out.’ Bahati

Following the announcement, my profile is now listed on the sites ‘author page’, do check it out. And while you are at it, I am pleased to also inform you that I have a brand new short story “The Confession” published on the site which you must hurry now to read.

Tweet me @nzesylva and let me know what you think of the story.

So now the count down to the release. I cant wait!

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IMG_20150304_170846You hit me and you ran off. You approached from behind, like someone chased by a monster and bumped into me…a rude shock, like an unexpected punch to the face. By the time I was done obeying Newton’s law of motion, I had spurn some 180 degrees, struck the side of the bridge and was now facing South, the direction I had been coming from. The screeching had hardly come to an end, when you zoomed off, the cry of your engine as you furiously stepped on the accelerator my first assurance of being alive. I only caught a glimpse of your tail light and the frame of your car as you ran off into the darkness…into the prison of your conscience.

It was about 8.30pm. I remember because I had just switched to Nigeria Info fm, for the sports crew, Femi and the Gang to lead me home with their commentary on that night’s mid-week EPL matches. Graciously, traffic was light because of the fuel scarcity and I looked forward to the welcoming smile of my wife and our daughter Kamsiyonna when I got home. She, Kamsi will giggle, wiggle her legs in the air as I lift her up and smack me across the face as if saying where have you been all day.

In a second, you attempted to take all that away from me…from them.

You hit me and you ran off. The scene of your cowardice was Falomo Bridge, Ikoyi. In the days that followed, I will wonder what could make any one scamper away like you did from a scene they created. Maybe you panicked…thought you had killed someone or perhaps it was the cost you would be made to bear for the damages that made you run away. Perhaps still, you were simply exhibiting the death to the humanity in all of us…a total lack of conscience in both high and low places that the world seems to be cloaked in these days.

The impact, the screeching and the final halt could not have lasted for longer than a minute. But it seemed like ages. Every now and again, I get flashes of it like I am hallucinating and it makes me shudder. So this is how people die? Chest slammed against the steering, head against the windscreen and my obituary would have been all over social media by now. But I was pinned down by my seat belt. That was my saving grace. And as an added proof that it was not yet time, no car was approaching on the lane you had dumped me. It is not hard to imagine what could have happened if there was one.

I will imagine later what kind of person you are…where you might have been running to that night? I would wonder if you were going home to a wife and a child and how you can find peaceful sleep knowing the mess you left on the way. Perhaps still, you ended up in a beer parlour somewhere with torrents of high-fives from drunken friends congratulating you for escaping in 007 style. I have imagined you being someone I knew, one of my facebook friends or readers of my blog and I played around with thoughts of what your reaction would be to news of my death in an accident. Once, on a lighter note, I even imagined what your politics is like, who you were rooting for in the coming elections, what kind of holier than thou opinions you express in your space on social media…but I digress.

You hit me and you ran. Much has been said by sympathizers since that night…how it will not be well with you, of how you will never find peace; of how God will…Personally, I have not been able to conceive my own wishes for you, good or bad. Instead, I have focused on what you gave me; a whole new appreciation of life and the ones I love. For what you took from me, can be fixed with time and money but what you gave me, only come from such scary encounters that herald a new beginning. For when I finally got home that night, shaken as I was, to my wife’s reassuring hug and my baby’s smile oblivious of what had happened, I knew for a fact that I lost nothing at all.

So I say to you wherever you are, I forgive you and I hope you finally escape from whatever it is that is chasing you in life.

And to all who read this remember: your next second is a promise no one has made you. So make the most of each moment and please, use your seat belts.

ka udo di. ka ndu di.

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Biz club 2

So a few weeks ago, October 25th to be precise, the delectable Joy Isi Bewaji invited me to read at the “Business of Writing Event.” Award winning travel writer Pelu Awofeso already did a blog post about the event here and you can find a whole lot more by searching the hash tag #WritingBizNG.

So I read one of my Sabi News #WhatIf series pieces, Dear OAP, What If your accent is confused? 

But that is not the news. The gist really, is that my reading was recorded by IfooAfrica, an audio based online platform that aims to bring back the African art form of storytelling, and it is available on their platform here. You can also listen by clicking on the link below. Do well to share 🙂

Dear OAP, What if….?

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