BY Nelson Manneh
Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North, calls on the Government of The Gambia to engage European governments to put an end to the maltreatment of young Gambian migrants in search of better lives in their countries.
The Banjul North Lawmaker said this while addressing Gambians at the Hammonia SV Vereinshaus (Club House) in the German City of Hamburg on Friday November 9th 2019.
Sillah who is currently touring seven European countries to meet with Gambians and friends of the Gambia, arrived Germany on Thursday morning and was received at the airport in Hamburg by Alagie Jobe and Arona Badjie.
Addressing his audience, Sillah said what he saw in a video footage on social media of a young man being shoved on the ground by two German Police officers and tied with a rope, is inhuman, degrading and a violation of human rights. He said the young man who was seen groaning while being tied like a sheep, is unacceptable and Government should do something to ensure that Gambians are treated well anywhere they are in the world.
Reiterating his call for European Governments to accept and provide support to young Gambian migrants, Sillah said there should be a moratorium or halt in any current operation to forcefully repatriate these young people, who risked their lives and spent so much, to each the shores of Europe.
The Banjul North lawmaker said he has spoken to a well-placed German national who informed him that their country is currently experiencing a shrinking population; that they are registering more deaths than births now. He said the individual argued that based on this demographic reality, Germany therefore needs migrants to come and work.
Sillah again emphasised that migration is a normal phenomenon that has been with mankind since time immemorial, but that the scale in which young people are now leaving the country for opportunities abroad, is alarming. He said it is therefore the duty of Government to invest in young people so that they would not be leaving the country en masse, for opportunities elsewhere.
On the issue of development in Africa, the Banjul North NAM asked whether African leaders, including those in the Gambia, travel to this part of the world to see how countries are organised in terms of efficient, effective and reliable systems, services, and infrastructure, etc. Sillah said Gambia has a huge potential in her citizens both at home and the diaspora, in terms of knowledge, skills and experience; but that this is not being taken advantage of or harnessed. He said the task of the new transitional political dispensation in the Gambia, should have simply been to mobilise Gambians from all walks of life and far and wide, to come together and share ideas and experiences and produce a development trajectory that will give the country a very good start after the transition, in terms of empowering and developing the people. He stressed the importance of Gambians in the diaspora who contribute more than 20% of GDP through the remittances; that this is sustaining many families back home. The Banjul North Lawmaker earlier spoke about the purpose of the visit which he said, is part of his statutory responsibility as a representative of the people; that he was there to hear their concerns and views on a wide range of issues affecting them both in Europe and back home in The Gambia.
He informed them of his initiatives at Constituency level such as the scholarship fund supported by salary.
Following his presentation, Sillah responded to numerous questions and comments from those in attendance, which centred on issues regarding the extension of the franchise for Gambians in the diaspora, maltreatment of migrants in Europe, the coalition agreement, fate of the assets and properties of the former president, the registration system, travels and per diems of civil servants, wastage of national resources, use of national languages in the National Assembly, and the recruitment of Gambians to work in Saudi Arabia among other thingd.
The meetings was chaired by Alagie Jobe who was later replaced by Cherno Gaye, both residents of Hamburg.
Sillah is scheduled for two meetings with Gambian nationals in Bremen and Hannover on Saturday 10 November 2018, before leaving Hamburg for Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday, 11th November, 2018.