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Again, Buhari expresses indifference about Nigerians leaving the country

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigerians who have another country to relocate to are free to do so.

“Anybody who thought he has any other country than Nigeria, Goodbye,” Buhari said.

“We are determined to rehabilitate our country especially for our children and grand-children,” the president added.

Nigeria, with a teeming young population, has about 180 million inhabitants, with myriads of challenges not only limited to the infamous Boko Haram insurgency, unemployment and infrastructural deficit.

Buhari’s recent comment reiterates his indifference about Nigerians fleeing the country which is already at alarming rate.

In October 2018, his spokesman said Nigerians who want to leave the country because they are fed up, can actually do so with his blessings.

“We have no other country but Nigeria. Others who feel they have another country may choose to go,” spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement on October 22, 2018.

Critics says the job market is the major reason for the alarming immigration from the Africa’s biggest economy country.

Atiku Abubakar, Buhari’s major contender in the 2019 presidential election, also shares the same opinion.

“Young Nigerians aren’t just leaving Nigeria because of bad pay and working conditions – they are leaving because there is no hope,” Abubakar wrote on Twitter in January.

Nigerians migrate in droves to find “greener pastures” in Europe and the Americas. The flight of the country’s trained experts, especially doctors, is also a regular complaint.

In spite of an appalling doctor-patient ratio, a former labour minister Chris Ngige said the government is not worried about how medical doctors are leaving the country in droves.

Ngige, himself a medical doctor, compared the brain drain to the exportation of surplus products.

A report published by Britain’s General Medical Council shows that 896 doctors of Nigerian nationality sat for Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test between September 2016 and June 2017.

The PLAB test is for doctors who have qualified overseas and wish to practise medicine in the UK under limited registration. There are two parts to the PLAB test.

“The nationalities most frequently recorded in 2016-2017 were, in order, Nigerian, Pakistani, Indian and British,” the report says.

74.6% of the Nigerians that sat for the exams passed, the report showed.

An upside to the alarming migration are the remittances feeding back into the Nigerian economy.

Nigeria received $22bn in remittances in 2017, the 5th highest in the world, according to the World Bank.

It’s more difficult to get exact number of Nigerians leaving the country, the UN estimated about 1.2 million, most of them coming from Benin, Ghana and Mali, are leaving the country yearly.


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