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Ekeomah Atuonwu

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken steps to prevent Nigerian youths from migrating in large numbers, claiming that the trend is ‘depleting Africa’s talent pool.’

“By 2050, Africa’s population of 1.3 billion is forecast to quadruple, making up a fifth of the world’s total,” the president said at the AU-EU Summit in Brussels.

“Nigeria, my country, is expected to double its population to 400 million people by then, surpassing the United States to become the world’s third-largest country.’

“This means a massive young market right on Europe’s doorstep, as well as a growing middle class with money to spend, thanks to expanded commerce,” he added.

“However, despite the growing opportunity, irregular northward migration from my continent depletes Africa’s skill pool while generating political conflicts in Europe.”

The head of state added that despite its best efforts, Europe’s Fortress strategy will not provide a long-term solution to the problem.

“Instead, more opportunities must be established for Africans at home, providing alternatives to taking a life-threatening boat journey to seek them elsewhere. The Africa-EU relationship must be rebalanced in order to boost job growth. Regrettably, today’s systems accomplish the exact reverse.”


Responding to this, several Nigerians have underlined that structural impediments, economic hardship, unemployment, poor governance, and other vices are all factors contributing to Nigerian youngsters migrating to European countries.

The problem of high migration was discussed at a conference of young professionals and creatives in Abuja, the nation’s capital with Africa Equity Media’s correspondent in attendance.

“The system has essentially failed the younger generation,” says Fola, a 28-year-old lawyer, of the Nigerian legal system and economy.

“It is terrible that many of us don’t see a future in our fatherland.”

Oke, a 32-year-old architect, reveals how bribery has infiltrated the construction industry.

“You have to bribe your way to a job. The contracts are awarded to politicians who steal the money and don’t get the job done. So what’s point of studying so hard and then being unemployed for years, not to mention the wasted years in school due to the continual strikes?”

Frequently, doctors in Nigeria’s health industry go on protracted strikes as a result of low pay, prompting many of them to migrate.

At least 2,000 medical physicians are anticipated to leave Nigeria each year, with 5,407 Nigerian-trained doctors currently employed by the British National Health Service in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Francis Faduyile, a former president of the Nigerian Medical Association, believes that a high prevalence of insecurity, unemployment, low remuneration, and a weak healthcare system are among the factors pushing physicians to flee the country for greener pastures.

He pointed out that the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has 75,000 members, yet over 33,000 have left the nation.

Illegal Migrants at the Mediterranean Sea /Courtesy/

According to the United Nations migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), thousands of Nigerians seeking greener pastures overseas died in their attempts to reach Europe via the desert and sea.

It goes on to say that the total could be higher because some “lost migrants” are yet to be found.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged his administration’s support to the Nigerian youth by providing jobs to alleviate the high level of unemployment in the country.

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