A Nigerian migrant, Evans William, has revealed how he sold everything to make the trip to Europe.
In a chat with BBC’s Colin Freeman, William said he sold his bed, fridge, TV, spare clothes and mobile phone. After borrowing yet more cash, he finally had enough to pay a smuggling gang to take him from Nigeria across the Sahara to Libya.
In all, it cost him $1,000, but he wasn’t worried. Once in Europe, he figured, he could quickly earn enough to pay off his creditors, and eventually return home to start a business of his own.
It didn’t quite work out like that. After six miserable months in Libya, where the gang forced him to work for nothing, he finally boarded a rickety boat to cross the Mediterranean.
It got stopped by the Libyan coastguard, who threw him and 140 other passengers into a detention centre. By then he’d had enough. He has now returned home to Benin, Edo State, among hundreds of migrants staying in a government-requisitioned hotel.
They’d been flown back by the International Organization for Migration, a UN body that helps illegal migrants who want to return home. “I still don’t want to stay in Nigeria,” he said. “Although next time, I’ll try to go to Europe by legal means,” he added.