Nigeria: the tragic journey of Kelvin and Augustina

Photo: Augustina was a jovial young girl

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Like tens of thousands of other Nigerians, the 26-year-old Kelvin Imasuen along with his sister, Augustina, decided to try to reach Europe crossing the desert and then the sea. But their dream became a nightmare. 

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From their home in Benin-city, brother and sister took a microbus to the border city of Kano. After that they crossed into Niger and reached the main trafficking hub of Agadez, the gateway to the Sahara. And from there they started the perilous journey to Libya. Despite the dangers, Kelvin and his sister pushed on, in search of a better life. Finally, they reached the Libyan Coast. Europe, their dream destination, was just a boat ride away.

One night, last July, hundreds of migrants were loaded onto inflatable boats on a Libyan beach. Gunfire broke out after the traffickers argued. He said four migrants were shot dead.

“There were about 150 people in each boat. They were overloaded.” He was in one inflatable, his sister in another. As the boats pushed out into the darkness of the Mediterranean, it was the last time he would ever see herAugustina drowned after her boat capsized. The 28-year-old nurse left behind a young daughter.

“She was a jovial person,” says Kelvin. “She loved everyone.”  Their mother, Charity, still cannot accept her daughter is not coming back. “I would have asked her not to go,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kelvin had a lucky escape. Along with dozens of other migrants, he bobbed about in the Mediterranean Sea for four days after their engine failed.

Eventually, the Libyan coastguard rescued them. The authorities detained Kelvin before the International Organization of Migration (IOM) returned him back to Nigeria.

Given all he has been through, his advice for those thinking about setting out to Europe is:

not to go by land. If they have money they should start their business here. There are too many dangers on the journey to Europe.”

 

Source: Read the entire story on BBC News: A Nigerian’s nightmare failed bid to migrate to Europe. By Martin Patience.

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