heartbreaking video showcasing a young Nigerian’s truly harrowing life
experiences has been uploaded to YouTube.
the clip, a Nigerian named Harrison solemnly narrates how he barely escaped death
after an ill-fated attempt to illegally travel to Italy from Libya. Out of 142
on board his makeshift boat, only three survived. The Nigerian was taken to a
Libyan prison where he languished for almost five years. After ‘miraculously’
securing release, his return to Nigeria was to prove an even bigger shock. His wife,
thinking him dead, had married one of his closest friends. His only son was
dead. Here is his story:
people set out on the intrepid voyage that night. 142 naïve men, women and
children on a journey to the unknown. 142 recklessly risking their lives in the
pursuit of a ‘better future’ in Europe. But 142 never arrived. 139 descended to
a watery grave that night. 139 families cruelly robbed of their loved one. 139
destinies battered by the howling winds of the Mediterranean Seas. Harrison was
one of the only three survivors, clinging desperately onto an empty oil can.
Unbeknown to him, the life he stubbornly clung to was a reality far worse than
A better life lay waiting for him, they said. A land flowing with proverbial
‘milk and honey’. An ‘easy job’ with ‘easy money’ abroad. Desperation easily
fell for the tactics of deception and Harrison agreed. The married dock-worker
who had recently lost his job was lulled into the false belief that travelling
abroad to Europe ‘no matter the cost’ was the best option. What began with hope
ended up in a journey of perilous danger and bitter despair.
Harrison set out five years ago, bidding his wife and young son a tearful
farewell and promising he would speak with them as soon as he reached ‘Italy’.
He never did. A tumultuous passage through the desert finally led the young
Nigerian to the North African nation of Libya. Alongside 141 others, hustled
into a small ‘rubber dinghy’, Harrison was pushed into the sea by those heading
an intricate network of human trafficking. Mid-journey, the makeshift boat hit
a rock and began leaking. Chaos ensued.
As water began filling up the boat amidst the screams and cries of its
occupants, Harrison beheld a shocking sight that seared his conscience. A
mother held her crying baby aloft as the frail boat began to sink. Before his
eyes, he witnessed the ocean swallow mother and son. Gone. Life snuffed out in
one foul watery swoop. As the boat capsized, Harrison grabbed onto an empty can
that once contained oil. To his left and right, those he travelled with
submerged into the abyss. With his strength failing, a ship of Libyan coast
guards emerged from the shadows. Hauled aboard, his ‘rescuers’ brutally beat
him to a stupor. The following morning, he painfully awoke – not in hospital –
but in a dingy prison cell.
The horrors Harrison witnessed in a Libyan underground dungeon go far beyond
the meager description mere words can provide. It was almost five years of
‘hell on earth’. Life became cheap to the startling degree that Harrison
witnessed dead bodies carried out of the cell on a daily basis. With hopes of a
release barely minimal and scores of new inmates pouring into the dungeons
daily, the young Nigerian had an unusual dream one night. He saw himself in a
large church receiving prayer from a ‘man of God’. He woke in a cold sweat. Shortly
afterwards, Harrison was among the over 600 Nigerians in Libya who were
deported with the intervention of the International Organisation for Migration
(IOM), a branch of the United Nations.
However, freedom came along with a heartbreaking reality. Returning to his home
in Ejigbo, Lagos State, the first residents who saw the ‘prodigal son’
disbelievingly threw sand on him, thinking he was a ghost. Rumours had spread
like wildfire that Harrison had died since his departure five years earlier.
Assuring them he was a real person, he was led solemnly to his former house.
There, the shock of his life awaited. His wife had remarried – to his best friend.
His only son had died. Five years wasted. Five years lost. Five years that
Forlorn and malnourished, Harrison recalled the dream he had in the
prison and headed to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN). He
alone. In May 2017, more than N15m was provided to deportees by the
arm, alongside two bags of rice each. This show of compassion touched
him to the core as he realised that what he sought for abroad was
available in his own country. Harrison called on the youth of Nigeria to
undergo such a journey and be content with what they have. After hearing his sordid experiences, T.B. Joshua gave Harrison the sum of N120,000 to help him start a new life.