A migrant gazes at the Doha skyline from the Corniche (Flickr photo)
It is really a great initiative that the Nigerian embassy here in Qatar, under the headship of ambassador Shuaibu Adamu Ahmed, is taking the initiative to assist countless jobless Nigerians who are roaming around in search of jobs.
Each day I am driving on Doha’s roads or comfortably waiting, in my well-cooled sedan, to cross an intersection at traffic signals, I can not but notice two to three Africans walking by. This is an increasing phenomenon right now in Qatar because we didn’t get to see many people walking the streets those days (even as early as 2007 when I arrived here), so one can’t but notice their presence.
I can almost tell one of them is Nigerian as they roam Doha streets, under the scotching sun (temperatures here in Qatar could reach 50 degree Celsius in peak summer months!). Many of them bear the telltale signs of joblessness. They are obviously on the street in search of jobs. You can easily tell their predicaments from their looks and the file, hiding their resume, clutched tightly in their hands.
I am usually filled with pity for them and at the same time, shame. Shame because Nigerians are not supposed to be in this condition (not even anyone, but the world is not a level playing field), if not for the bunch of irresponsible and bad people in the government back home.
What also evoke my pity for them most of the time is the fact that majority of them have paid huge sums to obtain Qatar’s visas and their processor might have promised them heaven and earth. I have had countless opportunities to interact with good number of them, largely from Nigeria and Cameroon. They claimed to have paid a lot in Naira and CFA Franc to certain individuals back home, who have links with Qatar where their visas were processed.
Of course, the visa racket is no longer news in Qatar as it has become very popular of late. Many even rumoured that the locals are benefiting hugely from it. But, that is not the subject of this post.
The contention here is why are visas being issued to this set of Africans when there is no immediate or remote hope of job for them here? Many of them have stayed months and even years and yet to secure a decent job. While a number of them blame discrimination against the dark skin for their fate, some are confused why they are unemployable.
A size-able number of them, who could not withstand the penury until succour finally arrive, were alleged to have returned home after the expiration of their stay permit. I think people should reason well before parting with their money, asking themselves: is it really worth it?
Many of these jobless Africans are finding it really tough to survive here, especially to feed and to pay rent, which must be paid every month. Mind you, their lodging is nothing more than a bed space in a cramped room shared by up to six persons. Some even find themselves in situations much worse than the much hyped living and working condition of some of the labour workers here.
Already, local communities here are describing some ‘jobless African youths’ as ‘nuisance’ on their local radio programmes and pockets of misdemeanour are being linked to these guys as well…call it the case of ‘the idle mind is devil’s workshop’!
Now with the latest move by the embassy in co-operation with Qatar’s government, we can be rest assured that things will no longer blow out of proportion.
It was also learnt that the embassy is ready to assist those willing to go back to Nigeria facilitate their trip back.
Way to go ambassador Shuaibu!