LASU VC Calls For Massive Investment In Education,Economy, Other Sectors ...Says Japa Is Modern Slavery In Europe, America, Asia - EDU-BIZNEWS


Friday, December 8, 2023

LASU VC Calls For Massive Investment In Education,Economy, Other Sectors ...Says Japa Is Modern Slavery In Europe, America, Asia

Vice Chancellor  of Lagos State (LASU) Ojo  Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello has asked government to provide good governance at all levels in Nigeria and rest of Africa by  investing massively in education, health and other critical sectors of the economy, if they must reverse the ugly trend of mass movement of professionals to countries in Europe, America and Asia for greener pastures 

The Vice-Chancellor who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor,  Academic, Prof. Olufunso Omobitan, made the call during the recently concluded maiden edition of Education Summit with the theme "Diaspora Gains and the Questions of Modern-Day Slavery in  Africa”* organized by the university's Centre for  General Nigerian Studies (CGNS)  Education on its Ojo main campus 

The Vice Chancellor who described the theme of the two-day summit held between Tuesday and Thursday, as crucial, apt, and reflective of the true situation of things in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,  urged the government at all levels to optimise investment in education, empower the youths with relevant skills, liberate marginalised communities, and foster economic growth to dismantle the structures that perpetuate slavery

According to the Professor of Physiology, “modern-day slavery requires urgent attention and collaborative efforts from everyone to address the menace. We must confront its root causes; poverty, poor education, political instability, uneven economic development, which creates an environment for exploitation”. 

 “We must build a country that prioritises the wellbeing of its citizens, make the basic things work, and enhance the spirit of patriotism. In a nutshell, we must make Nigeria work for Nigerians so that Nigerians can be proud to stay in their country”, she added.

She however cautioned students, others who want to leave the shores of the Country in search of greener pastures, to do so legally, with genuine and proper documentations in order to mitigate the challenges they would face as migrants in their host  countries. 

The Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Prof. Olugbenga Akindoju,   welcoming participants during the summit, averred that the summit serves as a platform to dissect the root causes of modern-day slavery,  discuss preventive measures and advocate  for policies that would protect the vulnerable and preserve the dignity of every African. 

In his words, “the summit is a call to action and it beckons on us to explore avenues  for collaboration, research and policy formulation that will change the future where the gains from the diaspora are inclusive and the question of modern-day slavery finds comprehensive solutions”.

The keynote speaker, Prof. Siyan Oyeweso,  who delivered a paper titled *“From Trans-Saharan Slave Trade to “Checking Out”, Sapa, Japa, Japada: Interrogating Issues in Brain Drain, Brain Gain and Modern Slavery”* stated that the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was what we knew for a greater part of time and it was a form of human tragedy but created African diaspora in various parts of the globe. 

According to the renowned historian, "the abolition of slave trade came much later but did not end and continued in one form or the other. Slavery can never be abolished. We can talk about forceful  slavery but there is voluntary slavery which is what is called modern-day slavery”.  

Oyeweso described the Japa syndrome as a form of voluntary slavery whereby individuals leave their home country in search of greener pastures without proper preparation and thereby being faced with a lot of inhumane challenges. 

He concluded the insightful lecture by affirming that the future of the country lies with its leadership and advised that the government should make provisions for  people to have decent living, welfare  packages and entrepreneurial opportunities that would convince and encourage them to stay behind to develop the economy of the country.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa,  OON, was the Lead Paper Presenter 1 at the summit. 

She was represented by the Executive Secretary, NiDCOM, Engr. Dr.  Sule Yakubu Bassi, stressed the need to harness the positive outcomes of JAPA which according to her,. Is a global issue, not  restricted to Nigeria due to globalisation

"i noted that the Japa phenomenon remains a global issue, not  restricted to Nigeria due to globalisation,  and it must be harnessed for positive outcomes. He added that the diaspora  phenomenon has absolute gains if  leveraged for national development by  turning the brain drain to brain gain and brain circulation within the context of the globalised world of today"

"Modern-day slavery must be mitigated by educating the youths to "shine their eyes"  before migrating. Before you JAPA, you  must prepare positively for it and also be  willing to PAJA, if conditions are not favourable for you”, she stated 

On Day 2, the Lead Presenter 2, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Sierra Leone, Prof. Ronnie Adebisi Frazer-Williams, who delivered his paper via Zoom at the Computer Laboratory,  Faculty of Education, described slavery as a big and complex business that would never be abolished, because of its intricacies and the gains accruing from it. 

He stated that, though slavery had been abolished, it has now been transformed and booming. 

He added that forced labour  and forced marriage had increased in the last five years, globally, saying slavery has  become a social system and somehow, a  way of life.

Talking with statistics, he said, "About 3  million children were forced into Labour and another 9 million into forced marriages around the globe. Forced Labour is linked to migration. According to International Labour Organisation (ILO), in 2003, 300,000 children, mostly under 18 were  forced to join militia groups in war-torn countries."

Speaking further, armed with facts, he narrated that "according to the latest global estimates on modern slavery, about  50 Million people were living in modern  slavery in 2021, of which 28 Million were in forced labour and 22 Million were trapped in forced marriage".

On Diaspora remittances, Prof.  Frazer-Williams informed that migrant workers sent home almost $800 billion in 2022 alone.

On the impact of modern-day slavery on Africa, he lambasted African leaders and  politicians, who enslaved and impoverished their citizens through corruption, bad  governance, bad leadership, nepotism and  others, saying though their people were not in chains, but, through their bad policies they were already enslaved. 

He rhetorically  asked how much minimum wage was paid workers in Africa, where the leaders lived  in affluence, but the people were left in  abject poverty.

He bemoaned the attitude of African leaders running to the likes of International Monetary Funds (IMF), Paris Club and others for external borrowing, by way of loans, which has gross implications. 

He gave an example of Zambia through the China-Africa Cooperation, which he views as another form of slavery and advised  that it must be reviewed in the interest of  Africa.
He warned Africans who intend to reach  Europe by crossing the Sahara Desert to  desist from it, describing it as a very  deadly adventure.

Finally, he called on World leaders to  abolish slavery of any form in totality. He  averred that empowerment through education and community service would go a long way in eradicating poverty in  Africa. He called on African leaders to look for homegrown solutions to problems facing the continents, especially fashioning democracy that suits each country of the continent, rather than taking everything Western in its entirety. In  closing, he called for a strong legislation and punishment for human traffickers, who  are involved in modern-day slavery.

After the presentation, the participants broke into two groups for the plenary sessions, where papers on different and related topics to the theme were presented.

In the end, about 85 participants from LASU and institutions around the country were presented certificates of participation. Other participants joined the summit online.

Speakers call on African leaders to change Africa's narrative through good governance 

The summit had in attendance the Special Guest of Honour and Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Central Internal Audit, Dr. (Mrs.) Oyeyemi Ayoola; Dean, Faculty of Education, Prof. Solomon Makinde; Dean, Faculty of Communication & Media Studies, Prof. Sunday Alawode;  Director, CGNS, Prof. Mubashiru  Mohammed;  immediate past University Librarian, Prof. Layi Adebayo; Professors, Administrative Officers, Participants, Media Practitioners, Staff and Students of the University.

*L-R, Chairman, LOC, Prof. Olugbenga Akindoju, Executive Secretary, NiDCOM, Engr. Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi, Keynote Speaker, Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, and Director, CGNS, Prof. M.O.B. Muhammed*

*Special Guest of Honour and Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Central Internal Audit, Dr. (Mrs.) Oyeyemi Ayoola*

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