In risky a move to japa, four Nigerian stowaways embarked on a journey across the vast Atlantic Ocean, clinging to a tiny space above the rudder of a cargo ship.
After ten days at sea, they found themselves devoid of food and water, resorting to drinking seawater to sustain their lives for another four days.
Their harrowing expedition came to a dramatic conclusion when they were rescued by Brazilian federal police at the southeastern port of Vitoria.
One of the stowaways, Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, a 38-year-old, described the experience as “terrible” and filled with fear. However, he expressed gratitude for being saved and given a chance at a new beginning.
The stowaways were rudly shocked to discover that they had not reached Europe, as they had initially hoped, but had instead landed in Brazil. While two of the men chose to return to Nigeria upon request, Yeye, and 35-year-old Roman Ebimene Friday from Bayelsa state, decided to seek asylum in Brazil.
In interviews, both Yeye and Friday cited economic hardship, political instability, and the pervasive crime in their native Nigeria as driving factors behind their decision to risk their lives at sea. Nigeria, being Africa’s most populous country, has long grappled with issues of violence, poverty, and rampant kidnappings.
Yeye, a pentecostal minister hailing from Lagos state, revealed that his livelihood took a devastating hit when floods destroyed his peanut and palm oil farm, leaving his family homeless. His hope now rests on reuniting his family in Brazil.