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Nigeria’s Money-guzzling Power Sector



Savannah State As A Priority


Emmanuel Onwubiko

In early May I travelled to Owerri, Imo State and traversed over five local government councils and finally spent few days in Aronziuogu before heading right back to Orlu Senatorial Zone.

Mind you, from Owerri to Arondizuogu and back to Orlu town, translates to traversing the three senatorial zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe in Imo State.

Cumulatively, my journey lasted a little over a week. However, I got a trailerload of lamentation from the dozens of persons I had interactions with in the three senatorial zones covering all of Imo State.

The principal complaints of most of these persons I had comprehensive conversations with was on the critical absence or lack of electricity power from the national grid in over 75 per cent areas of Imo State. I built a family house in Owerri but since nearly a decade, each time I travel home to Owerri, I do not enjoy electricity power from the national grid even as I pay each month of the year since my area has no rechargeable meter.  So, combining my personal ordeals for a decade with the conversations I had with many of the persons I met during my last journey,  the problems have become even much more complicated.

I came out with the idea that small- and medium-sized business outfits are folding up rapidly due to lack of affordable electricity to power their business ventures. The continuous shutdown of these small-scale businesses imply one thing – unemployment .

These enterprises that are forced to wind down are mostly run by young people who are university graduates and school leavers who are now made redundant due to power failures.

READ ALSO: Conversation Nigeriana (5)

I saw it myself. But the electricity power issue in Imo State is not much different than in Kafanchan in Kaduna State and much of the Federal Capital Territory. I have sufficient personal knowledge of these places.

In both my office environment and my place of residence spanning so much distance but all within the metropolitan area of Abuja, the crisis of electricity power has become of disturbing dimension resulting in the use of generators to power both the home and office.
I am certainly not alone. I am told by some persons who came to my office that some of them have spent greater part of this year staying in darkness but the bills for electricity have really not gone down especially for the thousands of Abuja residents who are yet to be connected to the rechargeable meters.

In Kafanchan, around April I watched in the media as hundreds of the residents protested against prolonged electricity power failures and till date there appears to be no improvement.

Amidst dwindling electricity power supply, there has been a heated debate on the reason the erratic electricity power issue may not abate soon. To certain characters working within the electricity power sector in both the private and public institutions, there is this plain illogical argument that the investors who buy and resell electricity power to the end users are asking for increment in the purchasing price of electricity as the only way to boost supply.

To millions of dissatisfied customers of electricity power in the country, what matters to them is the frequency of supply and not necessarily the cost which the investors are lobbying the government to hike.

There is, however, something sinister happening within the electricity power sector  which has defied transparency and the principle of accountability, coupled with the fact that the electricity power sector is one industry not too many observers have vast working knowledge about. It’s also a sector that is opaque and lacks everything to do with openness.  The electricity power sector is organised in such a way that you would think the people in charge are members of a sophisticated organised criminal gangs.

The above sentiment has to do with the use to which the tons of money poured into the electricity sector are being utilized.

Government officials are too quick to announce approval of credit facilities from international finance institutions but aren’t in any hurry to tell the citizens the progress of work done with these humongous amount of money even amidst dwindling electricity power supply situation all over Nigeria.

There is the believable suspicion that the electricity power sector is the most corruption- ridden institution in government. It is more or less like the more cash injected into the sector, the poorer the services rendered by the players in the electricity power industry becomes. It is a cash-Guzzling machine for politicians.

The most disastrous thing about this is that the bulk of the investments done by government are financed with borrowed money that would be repaid and nearly all of the operators are said to be private investors. It is then a mystery how government has kept funding private businesses with borrowed cash that would be repaid by the same tax payers who still are exploited by the private suppliers of the erratic electricity power supply.

READ ALSO: An Interview Summary With Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, The President Of The Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU)

The question begging for answer therefore is, where is all this cash borrowed from a diversity of financing institutions around the world and then why has electricity supply remined so poor so much so that only an insignificant number of Nigerians get up to two hours of electricity power per day since the last six years? This government before assuming office had castigated the immediate past administration for corruption in the power sector but six years down the line, this government has the biggest thieves embedded in the electricity power sector.

The World Bank recently was quoted as saying that about 90 million homes are without electricity in Nigeria.
The immediate consequences as highlighted earlier is the shutdown of businesses and for those who chose to use generators, the cost of fuel which is extremely high, means that the cost of production would multiply and then passed on to the poor Nigerians who are not less than 100 million households.

The British Broadcasting Corporation in 2015 reported that Nigeria is being crippled by the fuel shortage that the country has been experiencing for more than a month.

It reported then that Nigerian banks had shortened opening times, flights had been cancelled and phone companies might restrict services.

The BBC quoted the party of President-elect then Muhammadu Buhari as accusing the then outgoing government of “sabotage” for failing to deal with the crisis.

The wholesale fuel sellers have been withholding petrol as they say they are owed $1bn (£625m) by the government.
The Guarantee Trust Bank says its branches will close at 12:00 GMT as it struggles to get fuel for its generators.
The shortening of its opening times is the latest sign of the impact of the fuel shortage.

Most Nigerian businesses and homes rely on diesel-powered generators because of the poor electricity infrastructure.
The shortage means that Africa’s biggest economy is slowly grinding to halt, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos.

Three of the country’s mobile phone companies, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat, have warned that the fuel scarcity could affect their services as they are finding it difficult to supply diesel to the base stations. Traffic on the roads is also reducing as many fuel stations have stopped selling petrol and there are long queues at places where they are selling petrol.

Many domestic flights have been cancelled and some international flights are having to land in neighbouring countries to refuel.
Radio stations are also restricting their broadcasts and some have gone off air altogether.

It appears the fuel importers and marketers who operate a multi-billion dollar scam are blackmailing the government into agreeing to one more massive payout as they are not sure how much longer the fuel subsidy racket will go on.

They are literally shutting down the nation saying they are owed $1bn in arrears, but no-one gets to see how that figure is worked out. Many government officials, including employees of the state fuel company, are so intertwined in the fraud it is hard to know who is scamming who.

One thing is clear. Nigerians across the country trying to earn a living to feed their families are facing a new level of hardship.
The incoming president is inheriting one hell of a mess.

At the heart of the shortage is a row over the payment to wholesalers of the difference between the subsidised pump price and the international market price. The wholesalers are waiting for a $1bn payout from the government before they release more fuel.

It is thought that President-elect Buhari, who takes power on Friday, may move to end the petrol subsidy and so the wholesalers are trying to get something from the outgoing administration., so BBC reported then.

The BBC reported then that opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) thought government inaction was deliberate so that Mr Buhari would take over a “nation in deep crisis”.

Then APC spokesman Alhaji Lai Mohammed said in a statement that the “departing office holder [was] defecating on the chair he is vacating”.

The People’s Democratic Party of outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan said that it was the opposition which was behind the crisis “to create an impression that the APC is inheriting… a complete system breakdown”.

The fuel subsidy has become an enormous scam The wholesalers often pretend to bring in a lot more oil than they do and pocket the money they get for the petrol that is not delivered. But wait for it, what is the situation six years after Muhammadu Buhari took office?
Six years down the line, with humongous cash borrowed and reportedly injected into the electricity power sector, Nigeria’s energy poverty has worsened and nose- dived.

READ ALSO: Why I Was Absent From Southwest APC Leaders’ Meeting – Fayemi

Where is the borrowed cash?
On September, 2019 the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo  said the federal government had pumped about N1.5 trillion in intervention fund into Nigeria’s power sector in the last two years.Mr Osinbanjo said this at a power sector roundtable hosted by Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL) at its Kainji Hydropower Plant in Niger State on Tuesday.The MESL meeting was tagged, ‘Next Level for the Nigerian Power Sector – Unlocking Real Liquidity,’ Daily Trust reported.

The Vice President who was represented by the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said “the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the third round of intervention funding for the sector, with a total of about N1.5 trillion in the last two years.

“However, if the country is to achieve its aim of channelling funding to other critical sectors, it is pertinent that structural reforms be put in place to enable the power sector to fund itself sustainably,” Mr. Osinbajo said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in May announced the disbursement of N120.2bn to different electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), power generating companies (GENCOs), service providers and gas companies, in order to address the liquidity and funding challenges facing the sector.

Also in response to challenges in the power sector, especially in the generation sector, PREMIUM TIMES reported in September, how the World Bank announced it was in talks with the Nigerian government for a $2.5 billion loan to resolve the problems of the country’s power sector.

The bank in 2018 approved an estimated $486 million to improve and upgrade electricity transmission’s network of infrastructure and rehabilitate substations and lines in Nigeria.

On March 14th 2021 the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration said the Federal Government of Nigeria planned to spend $3 billion on the energy sector in the next 24 months and end the current electricity subsidies by December 2021.

The spending is expected to increase the power being wheeled by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) from the current 4,900MW to at least 7,000MW.

During a webinar hosted by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari, said that following the $500 million loans the government secured from the World Bank earlier this year, it was expecting another facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB), saying that the gestures were a demonstration of confidence in the reforms being currently made in the sector.

On 6 October 2020 reported that as Nigeria entered a deepening economic recession following a 6.1 per cent contraction in the second quarter of 2020, a $750 million World Bank Group (WBG) Program for Results (P4R) loan for the power sector approved in June had resulted in increased electricity rates.

The Power Sector Recovery Operation seeks to reform Nigeria’s power sector, including by establishing “sustainable and appropriate electricity tariffs.” Although it incorporates limited measures to mitigate the impact on the poorest consumers, including capping rates for unmetered customers and maintaining an affordable tariff for those consuming less than 50kWh of energy per month, according to Nigerian news site Nairametrics, the new tariffs mean “most Nigerians will now have to pay more for electricity.”

As noted in a 2019 report by UN Women and the International Labour Organization, “Higher energy prices… tend to slow down economic activity and thus generate unemployment. The sudden removal of fuel subsidies and consequent increases in prices have sparked protests and violent riots in many countries.”

READ ALSO: Akeredolu Supports South-West APC Leaders Meeting, Explains Absence

Around February 2021, the World Bank approved a $500 million loan to improve access to electricity in Nigeria and expand the metered network of power distributors.

The money the bank said would help distribution companies “make necessary investments to rehabilitate networks, install electric meters for more accurate customer billing and to improve the quality of service for those already connected to the grid,” the Washington-based lender said in an emailed statement Friday.

To qualify for funds, private distribution companies must meet various criteria including connection targets, financial management and network expansion, the lender said.

The loan follows the World Bank’s backing last year of a $750 million project to boost the energy sector of Africa’s biggest economy.
Nigeria lost about $26.2 billion as a result of unstable power supplies and 43% of the country’s 200 million people aren’t connected to the grid, the World Bank said.

Can we justify this poor electricity power situation vis-a-vis these humongous amount of borrowed money most likely mismanaged by government officials under the guise of  investment into improving electricity power infrastructures?

Can this government please tell us where these huge sums of money are because as far as electricity power supply is concerned, we are worst off than we were prior to 2015.

Onwubiko is head of the Human Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and was a federal commissioner at the National Human Rights commission of Nigeria.


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Moral Values In A Changing World



Prof. Hope Eghagha

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

JUSTICE: This world has degenerated into abysmal filth, immoral ungodly concupiscence, infantile greed, atavistic, primitive acquisition of property, and satanic hopelessness! The judiciary, the political class, the church, our royal fathers, and most other socio-cultural institutions have fallen into the cesspit of indiscipline and lack of respect for ethics! The Labour movement that used to be in the forefront of discipline cannot be trusted anymore!

MARIAM: Hehehehehehe! Okpoyibo! Big grammar is talking. I must invite Hon Patrick Obahiagbon to compete with you on explosive vocabulary.

PROFESSOR: That’s an old song. Our parents said the same thing some forty odd years ago.

UMUKORO: You are right; it is the way of the old to berate the world and say the past was better!

JUSTICE: Kindly don’t reduce the profundity of my introspective submission to the jejune level of the banal as has been the hallmark of pseudo-intellectuals in the polity!

MARIAM: I am going to get a new and bigger dictionary. I can’t find Michael West anymore!

JUSTICE: If you still restrict yourself to the archaic confines of Michael West, then you are a victim of historical detention, arrested development, and exploration of the brave new world!

MARIAM: I give up!

UMUKORO: Who still uses a dictionary in the 21st century? Ask Google my dear, ask Google!

JUSTICE: Your infantile and rudimentary knowledge of homonyms limits your capacity to process thoughts of the new century. Away with you, thou physically beautiful body without an intellectual soul. I take exception to people denigrating my exceptionally brilliant exegesis on the state of Homo sapiens!

PASTOR: ‘And in the last days, iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold’, so said the Master. The time is here!

PROFESSOR: A broken record! A broken record waxed hundreds of years ago!

PASTOR: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved!

PROFESSOR: Saved from what? Another holocaust? Another atomic bomb dumped on humanity?

PASTOR: Do you spurn sacred and biblical prophecies?

PROFESSOR: General prophecies mean nothing to me. Look here Mr Pastor. For all the false prophecies which members of your infernal gang of profiteering pastors gave before the last general elections, you should be behind the bars of God!

JUSTICE: It is not late, not too late at all. The hounds of heaven are waiting for all the false pastors, especially those who have commercialized the Lord’s work! A wonderful and abominable thing is happening in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the people love it so!

PROFESSOR: One preacher I knew used to say that one false prophet was more dangerous than 100 armed robbers. Now I understand why!

UMUKORO: Armed robbery is no longer fashionable. Pen robbery fetches millions of naira with one stroke. Just add two zeros to the figure or transfer public funds to a private account.

PROFESSOR: I spoke metaphorically!

PASTOR: When it is becoming fashionable for persons of the same gender to marry and be recognized by the state, then the world is coming to an end.

UMUKORO: Sodom and Gomorrah incurred God’s wrath with that abomination!


MARIAM: When Supreme Court judges dispense political justice, then the end of the state as we knew it, has come.

UMUKORO: Even in America! Democratic judges give judgment guided by the so-called liberal values of the democrats while republican judges give conservative verdicts like abolishing the right to having an abortion!

JUSTICE: What then is justice?

MARIAM: Self solution! Your name is justice!

PROFESSOR: Aren’t we mixing oranges and apples in the same basket?

PASTOR: Let the tares and the wheat grow. At the harvest the Lord shall do the separation of sheep from goats!

JUSTICE: Eschatological metaphors can be used to rationalize and explain currents and undercurrents of contemporary events. It is very convenient to do so!

PROFESSOR: I am disappointed that our Nobel laureate could make such a one-sided pronouncement on the 2023 general elections. Unlike him, he didn’t speak like a man who comprehends the totality of our traumatic experience in February 2023!

MARIAM: But he spoke his mind. The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression!

JUSTICE: He spoke with the finality of a judge. I respect him for that. But he should also like an elder have acknowledged the level of rigging and violence which marred the exercise. The general thinking is that he is silent on that aspect because a friend of his now occupies Aso Rock!

MARIAM: That is a most uncharitable thing to say about a man of such intellectual distinction and moral probity!

JUSTICE: Excuse me! Has he occupied any public office in the country to enable you to arrive at that conclusion? Has he been tested?

MARIAM: His name is a shield. His name travels before him.

JUSTICE: Why did he wait for the PEPT to make a pronouncement before proclaiming his tigritude?

PROFESSOR: Let’s leave that old man alone jor! I’m more interested in the shuffling feet at the CBN. What exactly is going on? Was there no due diligence before Shonubi was asked to act as Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria? Didn’t they know, couldn’t they have suspected that he was part of the rot that ran that institution aground in the dying days of the former president?

PASTOR: Alas, it has given the president the opportunity to appoint his own man as governor. The new man by all account is competent and exposed in the financial world!

PROFESSOR: My only worry is whether he will have the gumption to say no if he receives obnoxious directives from his boss.

JUSTICE: How many appointees in our country have the liver to say no to the indiscretion of their bosses? It is not in our DNA!

MARIAM: In Lagos state, the Speaker of House said no to the governor on the appointment of some commissioners! The heavens did not fall.

PROFESSOR: The heavens almost fell. But that speaker is arrogant. No big man can trust him. Or was he dancing to music being played in higher quarters to spite the governor?

MARIAM: Who knows! It is possible. The ways of politicians are not straightforward. How could he say that he and the governor are colleagues! He has no respect for the office!

UMUKORO: I felt sorry for the governor! This attempt to humiliate him all in the name of politics.

JUSTICE: I hear it is all about 2024. If he is thinking of becoming governor, that statement will return to haunt him in future!

PASTOR: Now! Now! Now! Is the Dubai visa ban still hanging over us or Mr. President got the desert kings to lift the embargo?

JUSTICE: Is there any ‘gbajue’ going on?

PROFESSOR: Hahahahahaha! The more you look, the less you see. Proverbs to bones and silence!

UMUKORO: I don’t think it is ‘gbajue! It is possible that there was an agreement in principle which would require Nigeria to finetune certain details before going public. A federal government cannot tell lies about such public matters!

PASTOR: When the saviour comes, let him that be on the rooftop not come down to be saved. You will run to the mountain and the mountain will be melting!

MARIAM: And the sea will be boiling!

PROFESSOR: Who will save us? Who can take the nation back to factory reset? Shall we invite Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, and Ahmadu Bello to rescue us?

PASTOR: Perish such thoughts please! Those men have not been able to save themselves. How can they save anybody? Jesus Christ is the answer!

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A Response To Toyin Falola’s Obasanjo, Obadide And Obajoko



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

By Yinka Agbetuyi

Toyin Falola’s “Obasanjo, Obadide and Obajoko” is a timely article that captures the complexities and contradictions of a Yoruba (even Nigerian) in transition. It reframes the questions: ‘transition to where?’ How will this transition be better managed? Until these two questions are adequately resolved Yorubaland (and Nigeria) will always be in constant crises.

    It is very important that the essay brings out the fact of extant kingships alongside modern polities in Europe like the UK and Belgium, (there are still twelve extant monarchies in Europe) where the monarchs are not subordinated to modern politicians and humiliated thereby. So which West are the Yoruba (and Nigerians) copying?  Newfound lands, mainly the US – as well as Australia and Canada- stolen from the aborigines.

    Yoruba people and fellow Nigerians must constantly be reminded that the success of the anticolonial struggles was about stopping such occurrence in Africa.  Perhaps Yoruba Nation advocacy was geared toward the same goal, but lacked effective strategies. At the last stop before Tinubu’s unexpected victory, the groundswell was for Yoruba Nation advocates to go into partnership with other Nigerian ethnic nationalities and evolve a workable blueprint that takes into consideration each group’s preference and the rate of and speed of integration into the totality – the North’s preference at independence, and Awo’s true federalism- supplanted unfortunately by the adoption of an American presidential federalist model, hook line and sinker!  My reaction over the decades is that Nigeria is not necessarily vying with others for the position of the 51st state of the US.

    In my own summation in diverse forums, as it exists now in Europe, the royal houses should be clearly delimited and given definite CONSTITUTIONAL roles and worthy remuneration. First Class traditional rulers should earn the same salaries as sitting governors (Nigeria can afford this option many times over from a mere fraction of its stolen wealth if recovered). Monarchs will in turn underwrite the integrity of the polity by being constitutionally tasked with the appointment of auditors who will scrutinise State spending (states and federal) and projects in their domains and report directly back to such MONARCHS for onward transmission to state chief executives and the presidency.

    Traditional rulers should be elected and appointed only by traditional councils and their appointment signed into law (but not subject to nor subordinated to) the state governors.  After all the days of crass illiterate caricature of traditional rulers is long gone.  Traditional rulers should therefore be structured as parallel instruments of and facilitators of governance in a check and balance structuration of governance, in a carefully integrated whole to achieve total governance – the transient and the permanent. Lesser traditional rulers should be administered by the First-Class rulers (in council) who will recommend their emoluments, (and functions) subject to rankings to state governments.

    Only First-Class rulers (in council) should be able to recommend the creation and elevation of lower ranked rulers to the states according to the existing norms of such communities, (they did this well enough in the precolonial days) and the state government should only administratively approve or reject such recommendations based on financial contingencies. This formulation should neutralise party politicking in the creation and maintenance of traditional rulership.

    Yes, traditional rulers must be constitutionally barred from seeking and accepting contracts from their states of origin and from the federal government, the same way a governor is not notionally entitled to be awarded a contract by their own government.  In the British system, this is called declaration of interests by parliamentarians (whether in government or not) in the register of interest book.  This is to prevent conflict of interests of the person in government (and their associates) and their official duties.  This provision demonstrates that greed is a universal phenomenon unless and until checked by relevant laws (witness the UK Parliament’s expenses claim scandal in 2010.)

    Now that the Tinubu struggle has been fought and won, the Yoruba Nation advocates, must in continuation of their activities not rest their oars on the ship of State, but intensify such by taking the lead in the quest for this new reality, by reaching out to like minded nationalities across the country to achieve the constitutional change for a better, stable and prosperous tomorrow for Nigerians.

Prince Agbetuyi is a Professor of Comparative Arts & World History at the Edutronix Institute, London.


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Use Your Penis: Hopes, Expectations And Realities Of African Migrants In Europe



The panelists at the event.

By Leo Igwe

The issue of migration to Europe has been in the news. There has been intense discussion on how to tackle the flow of migrants to, not from, Europe. There have been reports of boats carrying migrants capsizing or missing on the Mediterranean Sea. Many Africans have died trying to enter Europe via the Sahara desert. North African and European countries have taken measures to curb illegal migration and human trafficking. Still, the migration flow out of Africa continues and shows no signs of abating. Why has the migration of Africans or migration from Africa become such a huge problem? What are the hopes, experiences and realities of these migrants?

In August I was invited to speak at a seminar on migration. The focus was on the migration of Africans to Europe. The event took place in Bergen, Norway. As a doctoral student, I lived in Germany for six years. I was invited to speak at programs on migration. Governmental and nongovernmental agencies in Denmark and Germany organized the events. I did not find these events interesting because the focus was on human trafficking and the role of African juju and witchcraft. Do not get me wrong. Human trafficking is a huge problem and needs to be addressed. But we have to tackle the problem from the root. These events were by my estimate a complete waste of time and money because organizers and participants were not ready to tell themselves the truth, face the facts and address the real issue. They want to make themselves feel good and privileged while talking about these helpless Africans streaming to their shores. Organizers were more interested in marginal voodoo, and oath-taking issues. They made it seem as if there was something unusual about African migration. But there was not. Migration is as old as human beings. Humans from all races and regions have been migrating from one region to another, from one country or continent to another. Before this recent wave of migration out of Africa, people from Europe, America, and Asia have been migrating to Africa. They are still migrating for business, social, economic, religious, and political reasons.

Contemporary African migration is mainly economic. It is driven by poverty, miserable living conditions, and the devastation of African economies by European, Asian, and American companies. To tackle the problem of migration, African economies must be fixed. The continent must realize an economic leap. Now instead of focusing on the economic roots of the problem and how to address them, many Europeans and Americans expend energy discussing trivialities, such as the role of voodoo and so-called powerful witch doctors in Nigeria. Well, at these events, I told the organizers the bitter truth. I told them to forget this juju or voodoo talk and face the reality: the destruction and revival of African economies. I told the organizers what they did not want to hear. And they never invited me back.

But this time around it was different. The organizers were not Europeans or Americans. A Nigerian student at the University of Bergen staged the event. He contacted me some months ago, drawing my attention to the plight of African migrants in Norway. He explained how many who travel to Norway and other European countries had their hopes and expectations dashed. Many who migrate to this country or other European countries end up entrapped. They are compelled to go into things they did not plan to do. Many migrants end up in a new form of slavery, in a marriage to a European citizen. Left with the option of going back to Africa at the end of their study or marrying to get the documents to stay, many end up contracting a marriage, in many cases a paper or document marriage. These marriages entrap them, they turn these migrants into errand boys and girls. Many of them are mistreated. They suffer silently. If they misbehaved, their partners would threaten to report them to the authorities and get them deported. I was told that many in the African migrant communities were not helping matters. Someone told me that he approached some migrants seeking and wanting to know how he could navigate migration issues. But the person told him: “Use your penis”. I guess for a female it would have been a case of: Use your vagina. While studying in Germany, some African migrants told me how they were sexually exploited, and dehumanized before they could get legal documents to stay in the country. One woman told me that everyman who wanted to help her wanted to sleep with her.

So, the program was cathartic. It provided a space to let out these pains, sufferings, disappointments, and frustrations.

The event brought together ‘free-will’ migrants and Norwegians. The panelists were from Ghana, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Belarus. I was the only international guest on the panel. Other panelists discussed the hurdles that they have faced, and the challenges that they confronted trying to live and integrate in Norway. As one panelist noted, many who come to study were unable to find a job at the end of their program. In many cases, they graduated and found out that there was no job for them, or they were unable to speak the local language, which was a requirement for many jobs. Another panelist from Ghana, married to a Norwegian, discussed her challenges as a migrant parent in Norway. She recounted how her child had suffered racism in the school. She narrated an experience where the child did a group assignment with four other white Norwegian children. And the teacher gave her child four marks for the assignment and other group members five marks.

There was some discussion on illegal migration and the risks involved. Some Norwegians in the audience noted that many African migrants knew about the risks they could face migrating to Europe. And still, they decided to embark on the risky journey. There was a lot of focus on migrants and their experiences traveling from Africa. However, little or no attention was paid to the European connection with the problem, the fact that western foreign economic policies have devastating effects on African economies. Africa is a market for Western goods including Norwegian stockfish. Apparently Europe needs African markets not African migrants. Western multinationals are relentlessly plowing and plundering the resources of Africa in ways that have displaced the local populations. African professionals are leaving in droves. They are migrating to work in the West and the Middle East. So, Western economies profit from the migration flow and the cheap labor it provides. Western countries benefit from the economic status quo that has turned Africans into migrants and refugees in Europe and America. To contain the flow of migrants to Europe, the situation in Africa must change. African economies must begin to grow and improve. Western governments must end the economic exploitation of Africa.

Dr. Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches.

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