A group of protesters gathered outside the UN office in Lagos today to protest against reports of African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya.
It was a small but dedicated group, standing in the hot sun for three hours or more.
Ayinke Adefemi, a member of the Pan-African Consciousness Renaissance – one of the groups behind the protest, said the protest was about “trying to educate Africans about it”.
He said he was unhappy with the small turnout and blamed the culture:
“But I’m not also surprised because we live in a country where there is something called ‘suffering and smiling’. The communal culture that we Africans used to have is dead.”
Though the demonstration is small, it is a reflection of the huge reaction among Nigerians, mostly on social media, to reports of slavery in Libya”.
Protesters, like Seni Ajai, told me that they hope to ride the momentum of this outrage to push for improvements in the minimum wage:
“I’m part of the movement. Our problems are actually systemic. Minimum wage in Nigeria for instance is about $38 a month. The overwhelming majority of the people – about 61% – are living on less than a $1 day. Before it was not like that.”