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‘Case of migrant returnees a time bomb’— warns lawmaker


The National Assembly member for Lower Nuimi, Mahtarr Jeng, has cautioned Government to appeal to destination countries like Europe from where Gambians are being returned to treat them humanely.

Jeng, a former headmaster, said the young people have left the country because of the challenges within the economy.

“The case of the returnees could be a time bomb. A frustrated individual does not regard law or order… All that the individual has regards for is his own situation and we are getting a lot of returnees.

“Recently, 71 were returned from Germany, some bundled as slaves. If these people have to be returned, could we please appeal to the destination countries to be more humane,” Jeng said during an adjournment debate on Thursday.

“Our youths have left because of the situation in the country. If it (situation in Gambia) were that attractive, I am assuring you that these youths will not go because they have no place other than home… Let’s pay attention to our returnees…”

Meanwhile, Thursday was the last adjournment debate on the assembly floor before the lawmaking body closed for business until 2019.

And the Youths and Sports Minister has appeared for the final question and answer session from a cabinet minister for the year.

The lawmakers have quizzed Hadrammeh Sidibeh on plans that Government has to take care of the migrant returnees.

Dozens of Gambians have been returned from Europe and America since 2017. Currently, there are over 6500 Gambian failed asylum seekers in Europe who were ordered to leave.

And though the Government is receiving these migrants, there is not sufficient programmes to provide work for them, said critics.

The country’s biggest youth empowerment project is Youth Empowerment Project sponsored by European Union and being implemented by International Trade Centre.

The YEP is expected to create job for about 10, 000 young people and yet the youth unemployment rate in the country is about 38%. The youth form 60% of the country’s population.

The minister has confessed, while answering to the questions of Halifa Sallah, that they have no plans to reach out to EU countries to help them train the returned youths so that they can come home with skills.

The minister said the programmes available in the country to help the young people are Songhai Agricultural Center in Chamen, National Youth Service Scheme and Youth Empowerment Project.


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