By Makutu Manneh
Mustapha Sallah, Secretary General of Youth Against Irregular Migration (YAIM), has called on Government to take measures and avert the way Gambians are deported in their numbers from foreign countries especially Europe.
Mustapha who is a co-founder of YAIM and ‘backway’ returnee himself, said Government should discuss with the relevant European Authorities to ensure that Gambians who are to be deported, are well prepared to come back home. This he said, should be done by building their capacities with skills and to help them with start-up funds in order to begin a productive livelihood at home, when they are returned; that without this, the country will encounter additional challenges particularly on crime and youth unemployment.
Mustapha made these remarks amid controversy on the recent deportation of Gambians from Germany, where many people pointed the finger of blame at Government for the alleged signing of a deal in exchange for monetary gains from Western countries, which has since been denied through the Government spokesperson.
Mustapha said the Gambian people need to know the reality about what is responsible for this massive deportation of Gambians from foreign countries especially Europe; that Government represents the people and the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Youth and Sport, should be better positioned to explain to the people.
Mustapha said as returnees, they still face problems of unemployment since they came back two years ago; that most of his colleagues came with high hopes that Government will fulfill their promised package; but that very little or nothing is done or seen to be done about it. He said reintegrating into society is important, but many of his colleagues find it difficult to do so due to the little support they receive from their fellow Gambians and society in general. “Some of the deportees will not understand that no matter what difficulty they might face in foreign countries, Gambia is still their motherland,” he said.
He advised both returnees and deportees to stay focused and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
YAIM was established by migrant returnees from Libya in 2017. The organization’s aim is to fight against Irregular migration through awareness and job creation opportunities for returnees and would-be migrants.