Cardinal Onaiyekan: I’ll resign if I were president of country whose citizens migrate

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Metropolitan See, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said on Saturday, that he would not hesitate to resign if he were president of a country whose citizens are anxious of migration.

The archbishop described the situation as a big blow to the socioeconomic life of such nation. He challenged African countries to rise to the occasion of a mass exodus of their manpower, insisting that the high rate of migration by the youths could be linked to the bad political and economic situation of the country.

Onaiyekan made the declaration at a press briefing in Abuja, in preparation for a two-day conference being organised by Catholic Church on the irregular migration of Nigerians scheduled for next week.

He explained that the conference would provide a good opportunity for all stakeholders to freely discuss the issue of migration and possibly proffer superior solutions to the challenges.

He said: “Authorities should make Nigeria home. Same should be applicable to other African countries. Nigerians and other Africans should travel out of their country freely with dignity and respect, and not otherwise.

“These days, you hear some young Nigerians insisting that the pastures are greener elsewhere even when it is obviously not. If you live in a nation where your young people are telling you it is better living elsewhere, then it is a sign of failure of leadership of such a nation.

“If I were to the president of such nation, I will not hesitate to resign if I continue to hear such a statement from my younger generation. I recall vividly as a young child in school some decades ago, I loved Nigeria and professed it openly because I was well taken care of by the government and I had a promising future. But the reverse is the case now.”

He was optimistic that Nigeria could still be made home for her citizens, but only by a good government that would genuinely take care of its citizens, and work hard for their wellbeing such that they will not be forced to say “I love my country.”

The cardinal called on religious bodies to consistently preach against the “get-rich-quick syndrome” as the major cause of youths migration. He observed that many youths who could not get into politics have decided to migrate to Europe and other places, legally or otherwise, in search of quick riches.

He, thus, appealed to the government and international communities to treat migrants as victims not criminals as it will go a long way to tackle a lot of problem globally.

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