The Frenzy Of Nigerians To Travel Out And The Efforts To End The Nation's Economic Brain Drain

By Momoh, Emmanuel Omeiza

If we were to ask the average Nigerian today about their plans in the next five years, it is almost certain that many if not all of them would reply about their decision to travel out. Do we blame though? Considering the various crisis and societal challenges which continually threaten their existence as well as make their chances of survival bleak.

Furthermore, the prolonged refusal of the government to cater for the needs of its citizens who have been adjudged to take a lion share of the population of the African Continent are some of the other reasons which inform the decision of many to move out of the country in the search for greener pastures.

Based on reliable statistics, countries within the European and American axis have been a fertile ground and a safe haven for many of these emigrants. While it is unarguably true that these emigrants have made their home country proud in the areas of business sustainability and scientific inventions, nonetheless, the collosal damages of this emigration on Nigeria's economy cannot be quantified effectively.

Critical areas of Nigeria's economy such as health are almost on the verge of collapse due to the incessant industrial actions which are the byproducts of the lack of respect for labour agreements among other things.

Barely a month ago, Dr. Chris Ngige who's serves as the minister of labour and productivity had noted that the Nigerian health industry had a surplus of doctors and other medical practitioners. Hence, the issues of migrating to other countries wasn't a cause of concern since there were much hands working in the sector.

Almost few days after, the Nigerian medical environment suffered a setback due to strikes embarked by the National Association of Medical Doctors (NARD). The United Arab Emirates apparently perceiving this embarked on a recruitment of doctors into its countries which was destabilised by government security agents.

Can we then assume that Ngige's statement was factual especially with the report by World Health Organization and the International Labour Organisation revealing that Nigeria as the giant of Africa has a low doctor-paitent ratio. The report further noted that unless something is done in the nation's health sector, a doctor might be forced to attend to more than 5,000 patients as against the recommended 500.

The health sector isn't the only one suffering from the brain drain phenomena as other critical areas such as the manufacturing and construction industries are almost on the verge of collapse due to loss of precious professionals to foreign establishments.

A walk through the offices of many establishments reveal the presence of expatriates. The famous Julius Berger Ltd, which is a civil engineering construction company has the presence of many foreigners among its payroll.

Does this mean we don't have indigenous professionals who are skilled and have the necessary expertise to conduct it's operations?

Not minding the cost implications which most times outweigh the benefits, many Nigerian youths have constantly sought for a way to exit the stores of the country. Some even go as far as incurring loans and debts just to ensure they acquire the green card which makes them citizens of other countries.

The causative factor for Nigeria's brain drain according to experts are not far-fetched. The Stears magazine had reported that issues bordering around a moribund economy, high level of insecurity, unjustifiable rates of unemployment are some of the reasons for Nigeria's brain drain. Other causes include the indifference of the government and its adjunct institutions to respect the human rights, the lack of patronage for locally made goods by leaders etc.

The resultant effect of this has been the constant budgeting of trillions for personnel training and development which eventually yields no meaningful result. A vanguard newspaper editorial reports that Nigeria spends over $1bn training professionals who eventually migrate abroad. The report also observed that each "professional lost to other countries represents a loss of $184, 000".

Even in the educational environment, many Professors have and to fight their way through into becoming citizens of other countries due to the above factors and more such as poor infrastructure, meagre take-home salaries and allowances as well as increase in workload which in extreme cases is 200 students to a single lecturer.

Putting an end to Nigeria's brain drain requires the collective approach of all and sundry towards ensuring that the juicy offers which warrant many Nigerian professionals moving abroad is also made available. Our inability to achieve this will continue to be the clog in the wheels of our national progress.

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