By Afolabi Aribigbola
In recent times, Nigeria has witnessed heightened rate of migration from the country abroad. Often those moving out of the country to other counties are the calibre of men and women that have a lot to contribute to the social, economic and technological development of the country. They are the crop of professionals that are required to propel the necessary improvement and ultimate development of the country.
Unfortunately, while these migrations are beneficial and contributing to the development of receiving countries, complimentary immigrants are not entering the country. It is thus a retrogressive and unprogressive situation of profit to receiving countries and loss to Nigeria.
Also, this movement out of the country are happening in the facing of escalating and maddening shortages of well trained and accomplished professionals in critical sectors of the country such as medicine, education and industries that are crucial to the development of a society struggling like Nigeria. The spate of mass movement and relocation from Nigeria abroad has been adduced or suggested to be the end product of humongous poverty leading to deteriorating condition of living of Nigerians. Other factors include high unemployment and underemployment, high and uncontrolled population growth resulting to population explosion as well as the inability of the country to meet the growing needs of the population especially the youthful population that are in majority, The declining value of the naira leading to hyperinflation, inadequate basic facilities and services such as education, health, power, potable water among others. Growing insecurity, human right abuses, preventable intra and inter-ethnic conflicts and discrimination in the distribution and access to resources are some of the factors that have forced and heightened relocation abroad by many Nigerians. Poor living and working conditions are other important factors instigating and exacerbating relocation from Nigeria by her citizens.
Indeed, the mass exodus of Nigerians abroad has become a source of concern to many individuals and government of the country alike. Due to the huge negative consequences of the migration on the socioeconomic activities and development of the country, several calls have been made on the need to seek ways to control or end the out migration in Nigeria especially those of the highly skilled professionals and academics. These has been hinged on the negative consequences of allowing some of the best brains to leave the country.
Therefore, the Federal government of Nigeria through the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Henry Ikoh, revealed the intention of the government in Abuja while receiving the Secretary-General of the Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO), Ms Deemah Yahya, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office last month. According to the Minister, the government is seeking ways to end the trend of migration of Nigerians abroad and would work towards ensuring Nigerians were gainfully employed to discourage the need to travel abroad. He added that the government intended to correct the trend through industrialisation, which could be achieved by synergising with the DCO in the area of human capital development.
Of course, the issue of migration of Nigerians abroad has become a serious problem that the country must urgently address if the country wants to survive and be able to cope with the level of development in the modern world where societies seek ways and means to improve every day. This is important because the best materials in science, technology, industry medicine and the academia are abandoning the country for other countries. This is hinged on the seeming negative consequences of relocation of the best brains from the country to other countries. For instance, as a result of movement of doctors and nurses out of Nigeria to Europe and America, there are practically shortages of these medical personnel in virtually all health institutions in Nigeria. In the banking industry, many of the experienced bankers have abdicated their work for greener pastures abroad. Besides shortages of personnel in the critical sector of the national space economy of the country, migration will deny the country of knowledge and expertise of her good citizens that should drive the development of the country and make the country to continue to be dependent on other prosperous nations of the world. Yes, some have argued that movement of Nigerians abroad will help in increasing inflow of foreign exchange to the country that could be deployed to better the lots of Nigerians. I don’t subscribe to this line of thought because such will not support the creative endeavours of the country that is necessary for her ultimate growth and development. In addition, such tendency will only provide temporary gains that would not be sustainable at the end. Therefore, the leeway is to seek ways to retain and use the knowledge of Nigerians that are relocating for the purpose of improving Nigeria and her fortunes instead of waiting for income from Nigerians in diaspora. This demand well thought out plan and programmes of actions to improve the economy of the country, create an enabling environment for businesses and individuals to flourish and contribute to the development of the country.
This implies the need to jettison nepotism and promote merits in the country. The government needs to focus on employment generation activities, not one that will encourage and promote the consumption of foreign goods and services like medical tourism and foreign education. Time to provide and sincerely fix critical infrastructure that makes life worthy of living should be the overwhelming concern of all tiers of government in the country. To stem the tide of movement away from the country, government needs to reverse the dwindling fortune of education, health and other essential infrastructure and services in the country.
Their absence and inadequacies have motivated many individuals and industries to relocate from the country. To solve the problem of the best brains and those in essential services from exiting Nigeria, the people, especially the leaders that are imbued with the powers to reverse the negative narratives associated with the country, must be sincerely determined and show genuine interest and actions to arrest and solve the seeming intractable hydra-headed problems confronting Nigeria that is accountable for people escaping from the country. The leaders must find solutions to the multivarious problems prevalent in the country as a prelude to coming up with ways of discouraging not stopping the people as recently canvassed by the Minister.
The government can only discourage people from migrating by ensuring the provision of essential facilities that make for good living. Things that would encourage and support people to stay back in the country. The present statement like what we have been hearing over the years without concrete realistic action plans and strategies to accomplish them will just be mere statement that has been the stock in trade of political leaders in the country. The country needs to sit and identify the root of the challenges facing the country and not cosmetic and polished statement to attract temporary applause from the people or visitors to the country. There should be plans and strategies to get the country out of the wood and get it working again to provide the needed solutions to mass relocation from the country.
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