Claude Edah, former migrant, now proud of his decision to stay in Niger
Claude Edah is Beninese migrant living in Niger. After arriving in this transit country to migrate to Europe, he rather succeeded in fulfilling his dream locally: working in the media world. On top of that, Claude Edah launched his own communication agency.
Claude Edah was not yet 30 years old when he began his journey. A student in Geography at the University of Cotonou, Benin he decided to migrate because he said that the chances of getting a job were very limited.
He decided to go on an adventure with other friends including his cousin. This is how they ended up in Niger in 2016 with one objective: work and make a small fortune to reach Europe by sea.
Claude found himself working as a laborer in Niamey with his group, of which he is the leader. Very enthusiastic about media, he followed a lot of information on migration. This is how he learned the horrors of migration on the ground.
“Especially in 2016, I heard some bad news about the death of migrants in the desert, etc. And every time I listened to that, I was demoralized and really scared,” he says now, with a relaxed attitude.
He managed to pitch a Niger television with an idea for a show. It was the beginning of a dream for this son of a journalist and also the decline of the dream of migrating. “So I started by hosting a TV show and my stand on this trip changed completely. Then one evening, I called my cousin. Fortunately, I managed to convince him about the dangers of migration, and he in turn helped others to give up this dream. “
While his other friends returned to Benin after a year in Niger, Claude continued to evolve in the media landscape until he launched his own communication agency that now provides him a living.
“Today, my philosophy is such that just as French, English and Spanish people come to Niger, so should we too be able to go to their countries. That means: with papers, visa, residence permits,” he says proudly.
For Claude Edah, having documents is not a luxury, but a duty and it is up to African states to make people aware that they must first have identity documents.
“We have to travel, but we shouldn’t do it illegally. What I did in 2016, I will not be able to do it now. We traveled to save our family; we will not be able to do that by dying. In 2016, I was running away, I knew I was running away and it was a cowardly act to run. Currently, I take my papers and travel wherever I want,” he shared.
Photo credit: Gorodenkoff, Shuttlestock
Photo caption: Professional Photographer Works in Photo Editing App / Software on His Personal Computer