Saturday, September 19, 2015 11:25 am
About 6,300 Nigerians braved the perilous Mediterranean Sea journey to arrive Europe between April and June this year, new figures of asylum seekers released by EuroStat have shown.
Contrary to widespread notions that the thousands of the desperate refugees marooned in Hungary or Croatia or the borders of Germany, Austria or Calais in France are fleeing the war in Syria, Nigerians are also in the crowd.
Of the 6,300 Nigerians seeking asylum during this period, 2920 are camped in Italy, representing a fifth of the 14,895 asylum applicants in the country. Gambia has 1650 applicants and Pakistan 1395 applicants. Read the Euro Stat press release here
The Nigerians are obviously not fleeing from Boko Haram, but the poor state of the Nigerian economy.
Indications are however that they may soon be thrown back home as they would be treated as economic migrants, unworthy of the same attention and pity that those fleeing from wars deserve.
From the figures just published by Eurostat, only one in every five migrants claiming asylum in Europe is from Syria.
Out of the 213,000 arrivals in April, May and June, only 44,000 of them were fleeing the Syrian civil war. This represents 21 per cent of the entire asylum seekers.
The Afghans with 27,000 refugees are second with 13 per cent.
Nigerians constitute 3 per cent.
One of the Nigerian asylum seekers in Italy is a 24 year old lady named Esther Terry, whose story has hit the headlines as she gave birth to baby boy while being rescued from a dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italian Navy.
She and her son, named Khalifa Nyka are now being taken care of Catania’s Cannizzaro hospital, in Italy.