A good governance and Human Right Advocacy group, Youth Advocates For Peace, Justice And Empowerment Network (YAPJEN) has called on the Federal and State Government of Nigeria to take proactive steps and practical measures to reverse the ever increasing wave of brain drain hitting the nation.
Amb. Timothy Nwachukwu, the Executive Director of Youth Advocates For Peace Justice And Empowerment Network (YAPJEN) made this call while interacting with young people in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka over the recent strike embarked upon by resident doctors in Anambra State and the protest for the non payment of 13 months salary owed medical doctors by Abia State Government.
Amb. Timothy Nwachukwu described as unacceptable the depressing statistics from Nigeria’s medical sector where over 50,000 of the registered 80,000 medical doctors are practising abroad and over 100 have resigned due to poor working condition at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. A total of 88 doctors have left the Kogi Civil Service; in UCH over 100 doctors have resigned from their appointment while in Lagos more than 800 doctors have resigned from Lagos State hospitals.
Nwachukwu bemoaned the human capital flight hitting the various sectors of Nigeria, stating that according to the US Department of State, more than 163,000 immigrant and non-immigrant visas were issued to Nigerians between March 2017 and January 2018.
YAPJEN Executive Director decried the inability of Abia State Government to pay the protesting resident doctors their 13 months salary and the doctors strike in Anambra State led by Dr. Obinna Aniagboso, Chairman of the Association of Resident Doctors, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka branch over poor conditions of service. Some doctors earn below 50 per cent of their actual entitlement compared to their counterparts elsewhere and the meager income hardly meets the bare necessities of life for the doctor and his family, let alone sponsoring professional examination and academic courses of Residency Programme as credited to the NBA branch Chairman.
He stated that It was quite disheartening as a recent revelation shows that 92% of Nigerian doctors are making plans to leave for foreign land and are taking exams to that effect. He lamented that statistics from General Medical Council (GMC) UK, shows that over 4,765 Nigerian doctors are working in the UK. This is 1.7 per cent of the total of the UK’s medical workforce and about 10,000 to 15,000 Nigerian doctors are working outside the country and 90 per cent of them were trained in Nigeria.
In the same vein, YAPJEN Director of Records Advocate Iguh Laura Chidera and the Director of Information Advocate Okpalaeze Charles stated that Nigerian leaders must understand the reasons behind the brain drain, compare the results with the real experience of living in the developed nations and identify the ways to attract our Professionals back home. These Professionals they stated will be returning with skills and experience gained internationally and with the right business environment, will make positive contributions to our growing economy, with a main focus on improving the non oil sectors of the economy.
Amb. Nwachukwu revealed that over the years, the Federal and State government had no practical steps laid down for accomplishing the objective of reversing the brain drain, as without dramatic and rapid economic and social transformation of the country the dream of reversing the brain drain will remain nigh impossible to realize. He further called on President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to initiate policies and create an enabling environment that is capable of attracting Nigerians in Diaspora to return and invest in Nigeria thereby aiding the much touted recovery of the nations economy.