Nigerian Migration Trend and the Issues of Brain Drain
1.1 Background of Study
A visit to any of the busy airports in Nigeria such as Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos or Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, you will notice the great out-flux of Nigerians into many countries. More so Nigerians finding their way to more developed regions is becoming a function of employment-driven nature of Nigerian emigration. Also, Nigerian emigration to the West is highly selective of the educated, skilled and professionals who are more likely to be attracted by the economic opportunities of more developed regions. Because of this, the most preferred destinations in Europe were the United Kingdom (184,314), Italy (48,073), Spain (36,885), Germany (22,687) and Ireland (18,540) according to the International Organization for Migration country profile of Nigeria 2014. The United States was the single most important destination of Nigerian migrants in 2013, as it had been since 1990, with 252,172 or about 25 per cent of all Nigerian emigrants. This is a clear manifestation of the superb opportunities offered by the United States with respect to employment, education and training, and social and cultural identification compared with other countries in the world. In recent years, there seems to be an influx into China, India and other Asian countries that hitherto had very few Nigerian citizens. Nevertheless, the number of Nigerian emigrants to these counties is still relatively low.
Migration can have a range of social, cultural, political and economic effects. It involves transfer of know-how and skills, financial assets and the transfer of people from one location to another. Migration also has consequences for the individual, the area of origin and the area of destination – on the family, household, society, the economy and development as a whole. The effect of international migration is not limited to remittances and cash inflows alone. It includes a wide range of development issues – governance and legal protection, employment and social, protection, health services and education, tertiary education, knowledge and skills development, economic growth, financial services and growth, agriculture and rural infrastructural development, and environment issues. As in the case of this study, the economic aspect of migration is my focus. Over the years Nigeria has faced a lot of issues in reference to migration, non-exclusive brain drain and it would be important to address these in order to promote her economic development.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Negative or low economic growth, population growth, high under- and unemployment rates, combined with unequal income distribution, and high pressures on land and urban environments drive people to seek employment abroad due to a lack of alternatives back home. Poor governance is another major factor for emigration, especially among the highly skilled (Nyberg Sørensen, Van Hear, and Engberg-Pedersen, 2003). In major parts of Nigeria, electricity is erratic and in most cases not available at all; no pipe borne water, deplorable condition of roads, hospitals are mere consulting clinics and educational system crumbling without any Nigeria University being among the top one thousand universities in the world.
All these pose a problem for the average literate Nigerian who expects to receive due employment after graduation from the higher institution. The diminishing numbers of Nigerians in the South region or less developed regions is related to dwindling economic realities and social upheavals in many countries. The dearth of good political leadership in Africa stands to be the biggest challenge. Lack of trust of the people in our leaders to ensure good living standards, dividends of democracy, protection of human rights, and provision of good and qualitative education, infrastructure and social security; have made many individuals both old and young of the country to “check out.”
This, they do with the fervent hope that they would lead a more better and prosperous life outside the shores of their country and continent. Nepotism also stands as a barrier to economic development; where one isn’t employed for their skills but for their family or tribal relation with the individual. Therefore all these problems are accountable for the growing numbers of Nigerians who travel out of the country on a daily basis in pursuit for better standards of living. This project will then best provide answers to the following research questions.
1.3 Research Questions
Is the living standard of Nigeria responsible for the emigration of her citizens to other developed states?
Is the reduction in the number of skilled personnel (such as students, professionals etc.) under developing the Nigeria’s socio-economy?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
This broad objective of this study is to analyse and evaluate the following:
The terms ‘Brain drain’, ‘Migration’ and the current situation of Nigeria’s development,
Migratory trends during the Pre-colonial Era to the Post-Independence Era and her Emigration of Nigerian professionals outside the country,
Its impact on her socio-economic structure; and
Find remedy to correcting human capital flight in terms of brain gain so as to benefit Nigeria.
1.5 Significance of Study:
At the theoretical level, this study will provide reasons why Nigeria has been confounded with the issue of economic underdevelopment. The subtle vote of no confidence passed by the citizens of the country and on her government’s failure for the provision of basic amenities and infrastructure by embracing the idea of seeking for greener pastures in the developed western nations; would be more appreciated and understood in this study by seekers and lovers of knowledge.
The empirical and practical significance would provide Nigerian leaders and relevant decision makers with the requisite facts and figures concerning emigrant status of the country. This, they can ultimately rely on, so as to retrace their steps and to ensure that good governance prevails in their various jurisdictions, which would help to stem the checking out syndrome.
1.6 The Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of the study centres on the brain drain of the Nigeria’s socio-economy in respect to emigration of her people outside the country.
There are certain challenges that pose a difficulty to this study. Challenges such as the opportunity to interact with few Nigerian emigrants abroad and get substantial data on the comparison of life here and there, as well as information that can be gotten from with which to gather materials and other relevant literature source for the study. In order to facilitate the updates of the Migration Profile, the timeliness, processing and analysis of migration data are not updated by the necessary authorities.
Although the Nigeria Immigration Service collects a wealth of administrative data on entries, departures and registration, the lack of data separation by sex, age and other relevant characteristics makes meaningful analysis difficult. There is no known collated official data on Nigerian emigrants from any of the Nigerian ministries or agencies. Embassies may collect data, but these are not made available to the public. Another challenge to developing a database is the issue of confidentiality in collecting and sharing migration data, as well as the lack of unified documentation at the local, regional and international levels.