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Friday, December 2, 2022

‘Professionals’ exodus killing Nigeria’s critical sectors’

By Saheed Ibrahim
& Rebecca Akintunde

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The mass exodus of Nigerian professionals for greener pastures abroad is now taking a toll on critical sectors of the nation’s economy.

Professionals who spoke with The Hope said the development portends a bleak future for the country in terms of human and economic  development.

Findings showed that the affected  sectors now bleed as a result of immense manpower shortage.

Most hit by the exodus include the banking, health, ICT and education sectors.

Recently, the increasing rate of brain drain has led to the closure of the Federal Medical Center, Owo, while the fate of many other critical institutions still rendering services across the country hangs due to shortage of manpower.

Factors fuelling the exodus according to investigation include the desire for better working conditions, career fulfillment, insecurity, harsh economy among others.

Recent data gathered from the health, banking, engineering, ICT and education sectors showed that 80 percent of the remaining workers in the sectors are preparing to leave.

With the resumption of academics in schools in America and Europe in August and September, it is expected that the number of Nigerians leaving the country will double.

Findings showed that in the health sector, about 7,256 Nigerian nurses have relocated to the United Kingdom between March 2021 and March 2022, indicating that 600 nurses leave the country for the UK alone every month.

Out of the 74,543 registered doctors in Nigeria with population of about 200 million, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN revealed that 33,000 left the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. The number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK currently stands at 9,976, it added.

In America, there are 3,895 Nigerian-trained doctors licensed to practice Medicine as of 2020 while the Association of Nigerian Physicians in America, has over 4,000 members physicians, dentists and allied health professionals of Nigerian birth in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

In the ICT sector, reports showed that about 500 software engineers have left the country since the beginning of this year.

In the banking sector, findings showed that over 1,000 ICT technical engineers have resigned and moved abroad.

One of the managers in the banking sector who spoke with The Hope on anonymity said eight out of 10 banking personnel are ready to quit and move abroad.

In the education sector, lecturers are leaving to ply their trades abroad while nine out of 10 Nigerian students seek admission opportunities abroad.

Reacting to the development, an Associate Professor at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Dr. Afe Adedayo said the mass exodus of professionals from the country would put the nation’s future in jeopardy as the implications would be enormous.

He attributed the mass exodus to lack of social facilities that aid business operations, desire for conducive working and learning environments, crumbling economy and insecurity.

“Insecurity is so rampant  now. People working in engineering firms and others are not safe and that is why they are leaving the country.

“Imagine somebody  having his children in the tertiary institutions and have been at home for over 6months and if opportunities surface they will relocate.

Adedayo recommended that government must ensure the major reasons for leaving are adequately addressed.

Also speaking, Dr. Ganiyat Tijani-Adenle of Lagos state University said Nigeria faces a dark future as her investments in human development are being utilized in other nations.

She said brain drain among professionals had led to the debacles being experienced across sectors.

“The ratio of professionals to clients, especially in the public sector keeps declining, leading to poor service delivery, high importation, medical tourism and everything else that comes with inadequate manpower,” she said.

Tijani-Adenle suggested that solutions to the exodus are “to improve our country’s security, infrastructure, health care, minimize corruption, pay good remuneration and people will not be too eager to leave”.

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