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Shameful that richest man in Africa is a Nigerian, but Nigeria is world’s poverty headquarters – says Emir Sanusi

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The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has lamented that the richest man in Africa is from Nigeria and ironically, the country “is also the poverty capital of the world”.

According to him, that contradiction was typical of the world the country created.

The Emir made this known at the book launch: “From Frying Pan to Fire”, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi in Abuja.

Sanusi also said Nigeria had no basis for spending $3billion to $4billion annually on fuel subsidy.

The monarch said: “If you come to Abuja Airport, it is filled with private jets. If you land in Abuja you will think Nigeria is a very rich country. We have beautiful roads and bridges; we have everything in Abuja.

“Go to the rural areas and see the large number of Nigerians there. It is a completely different world. It is a sad case and we need to deal with that. We must also remember that the discourse is not just a humanitarian discourse and it is not value free.”

He also spoke of a mismanaged economy and misplaced priorities, stressing that subsidy funds should be spent on education, power and industry to create jobs.

In his view, Africans need jobs and they need a life to stop them from migrating to other countries.

Sanusi, however, said global inequality accounted for the migration crises being experienced in Europe, America and even Nigeria.

He asked African leaders to find solutions to migration problems to prevent their citizens from invading other continents for greener pastures.

“We have to grow up. We cannot blame Europe and America for our problems; we have mismanaged our economy, we have misplaced our priorities, we have not understood the importance of development. We think these roads and bridges are developments and not the human beings.

“How much are we spending in an attempt to give ourselves cheap fuel? $3billion or $4billion a year? So-called petroleum subsidy? Imagine putting that money into education or into power or industry. That won’t deal with migration unless we have jobs. Why can’t we have electricity?”

The Emir, however, said global inequality accounted for the migration crises being experienced in Europe, America and even Nigeria.

Sanusi also attributed irregular migration to circumstances of the economy, poverty and climate change.

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki said about 4, 200 migrants had returned to the state from abroad.

He said: “This book will assist to deal with the scourge of irregular migration. In Edo State, we acknowledged and accepted that since almost 65 per cent of irregular, all trafficked migrants come from our state, we have now accepted that we have a problem. Rather than being in denial, we accepted it as a challenge and we now openly speak about it…

“In addressing this scourge, let us just look back and try to understand the causes. It has been economic pressures, ignorance, family pressures, lack of jobs and ignorant.

“For us as a government, we have decided to ask ourselves why Edo State? We have decided to approach the issue of migration differently. As long as those that have migrated want to return home, we must create a passage for that.

“So, the first thing in our approach to this crisis is a Returnee Management and Reintegration Policy. When we find people in situations like this, the state decided to take up the responsibility and setup up our own anti-trafficking agency at the state level.

“And also we decided to reenact with stiffer penalties the federal anti-trafficking laws in Edo State. On December 4, this month we are having our second dialogue in Benin City, where we will be looking at all the available resources to deal with this issue.

“For every returnee who comes back home to Edo State, we have a team to receive him or her. From the airport down to Edo State. And we subject them to medical, physiological screening and proper documentation. So, today we have about 4, 200 of them that have returned and we have documented every one of them and their experiences.”

Adeniyi spoke about the background to the book.

He said: “This is a book that has always been there for me to write, but I never really thought of it until about three years ago when I delivered a lecture somewhere.

“My younger brother for six years was practically lost in this irregular migration saga between 1993 and 1998. It was God that brought him back. So, at different intervals, he was telling me stories. The one that struck me most is in 2005 when three Nigerians were killed in Indonesia. So, I couldn’t sleep knowing that one of those guys that were killed, we were together in Mali in the 90s.

“The guy was killed in Indonesia for drug trafficking. So, my brother was saying if there is anything I can do. He said then that there were 48 other people on death roll. It was then that I decided to write this book.”

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