From Hunger to Hope: Four Nigerian Stowaways’ Extraordinary Quest for a Better Future

Four Nigerian stowaways have recently accomplished a harrowing and remarkable two-week voyage across the vast Atlantic Ocean while perched precariously on the rudder of a cargo ship.


Their journey, spanning over 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles), exposes the extreme risks and desperate measures some migrants are willing to undertake in pursuit of a better life.

Persevering against Hunger and Thirst:

During their dangerous journey, the four men endured immense challenges, including running out of food and water just ten days into the voyage.

However, their will to survive drove them to drink the sea water crashing just meters below them for another four days, until they were eventually rescued by Brazilian federal police upon reaching the southeastern port of Vitoria.

Escape from Nigeria:

In an interview at a Sao Paulo church shelter, 38-year-old Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, one of the stowaways, described the experience as terrifying and arduous.


The men had intended to reach Europe but were shocked to discover that they had landed on the other side of the Atlantic, in Brazil.

Economic hardship, political instability, and pervasive crime had compelled them to take such drastic measures, leaving their native Nigeria behind.

Survival Tactics:

Roman Ebimene Friday, another stowaway, recounted how his journey commenced when a fisherman friend rowed him to the stern of the Liberian-flagged Ken Wave, docked in Lagos, Nigeria.

To his astonishment, he found three other men already there, waiting for the ship to set sail.

Terrified of being thrown into the sea by his unknown shipmates, Mr. Friday and his companions took great pains to avoid detection by the ship’s crew throughout their perilous journey.


Perched on the Edge of Danger:

To prevent themselves from falling into the churning waters below, the men ingeniously rigged up a net around the rudder and tethered themselves to it with a rope.

Sleep was a rare and risky luxury due to the cramped conditions and the constant noise of the ship’s engine.

Their tenuous perch also offered glimpses of the ocean’s inhabitants, from big fish like whales and sharks, making their already precarious situation even more nerve-wracking.

Hope for Asylum in Brazil:

The four stowaways expressed immense relief upon being rescued, but their joy was overshadowed by the realization that they had ended up in Brazil instead of Europe.

Two of them have already been repatriated to Nigeria at their request, while Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye and Roman Ebimene Friday have applied for asylum in Brazil.


Their plight reflects the profound desperation and lack of alternatives that many face in Nigeria, where violence, poverty, and kidnappings are endemic.


Their extraordinary and dangerous journey exemplifies the extraordinary lengths people are willing to go to secure a fresh start in life.

Father Paolo Parise, a priest at the Sao Paulo shelter, emphasizes that such perilous actions demonstrate the unimaginable and deeply dangerous measures people are driven to in their search for a better life.

The survival of these four Nigerian stowaways adds another chapter to the complex and heart-rending saga of migration across continents.

It is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by those who embark on perilous journeys in the hope of finding safety and prosperity in distant lands.



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