Libya: Ghana, Nigeria Presidents Decry Slavery
Presidents of West African countries, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, have condemned the current wave of auctioning of African Europe-bound migrants as slaves in Libya.
Photos and videos making the rounds on the media suggest that some of the migrants en-route Libya are subjected to inhuman treatments and even killed in the process.
In a thoughtful tweet a while ago, Akufo-Addo on his twitter handle @NAkufoAddo said “The current slave auctions of Africans in Libya are not only gross and scandalous abuses of human rights, but are also mockeries of the alleged solidarity of African nations grouped in the African Union (AU), of which Libya is a member”.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Alhaji Garba Shehu also said Buhari was concerned about the news of slavery trade in Libya. Shehu said that President Buhari would “present the issue of migrants crises to the African Union-European Union summit” which will open tomorrow in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
An outspoken Nigerian social commentator, Femi Fani Kayode today posted on the social media, a gory photograph of mutilated human body and attributed that to inhuman treatment given to travelers en-route Libya, calling on authorities to take urgent action against it. Fani Kayode’s post has sparked outrage across the African continent.
The African Union (AU) had expressed outrage after footage emerged appearing to show sub-Saharan migrants being sold at slave markets in Libya.
On the video, released by CNN this week, young men are seen being auctioned off as farm workers at $400 each.
The AU chairman, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, demanded prosecutions over a “despicable” trade “from another era”.
Migrants trying to reach Europe have spoken of being held by smugglers and forced to work for little or no money.
The footage released by CNN appears to show youths from Niger and other sub-Saharan countries being sold to buyers for about $400 (£300) at undisclosed locations in the country.
“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Mr Conde said.
In April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it had gathered evidence of slavery in Libya.
The IOM’s chief of mission for Libya, Othman Belbeisi, told the BBC at the time that migrants were priced according to their abilities.
“Apparently they don’t have money and their families cannot pay the ransom, so they are being sold to get at least a minimum benefit from that,” he said.
“The price is definitely different depending on your qualifications, for example if you can do painting or tiles or some specialised work then the price gets higher.”