The European Union says there are more Nigerian professionals in Europe than there are in Nigeria, warning that the development can be detrimental to the development of the country.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michel Arrion, disclosed this at a conference on National Migration Policy Thematic Areas, organised by UN International Organisation for Migration in Abuja.
Mr. Arrion explained that EU welcomed migration as long as it was legal, adding that “it enhances the movement of factors of production, particularly labour, especially in Europe.”
“Migration is good,” Mr. Arrion said. “We (Europe) like migration as long as it is legal. We need migration for various reasons. Movement of factors of production is a good thing and labour moving freely is a very good thing.
“In Europe and in other western countries, we have this specific issue of aging population. So we need fresh blood in our countries but we have to be careful sometimes about brain drain. As you know, there are more PhD holders from Nigerian origin in Europe or in America than in Nigeria.
“There are more Nigerian doctors and nurses in Europe and in America than in Nigeria. So, let’s be careful with that. It is good to attract the best people but not to the detriment of the development of your country.”
In his remarks, the Minister of National Planning and Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission, Abubakar Sulaiman, said Nigeria was grappling with a wide range of migration issues.
He said, “Nigeria as the most populous country on the continent grapples with a wide range of migration issues, from internal migration to massive intra and inter-regional migration.
“Migration of highly skilled and unskilled labour workforce, trafficking in persons, Diaspora engagement and remittances amongst others, have shaped the current migratory trends and dominated contemporary migration discourse.”
Represented by Bassey Akpanyung, the secretary of NPC, Mr. Sulaiman pledged Nigeria’s commitment toward migration issues.
He said the Federal Government’s commitment in this regard had been demonstrated by the endorsement of the National Labour Migration Policy and the National Migration Policy.
The minister said the policy recognised the challenges of migration in Nigeria, especially relating to smuggling and trafficking in persons and irregular migration.
According to him, it addresses the benefits of migration and considers ways of maximising opportunities to use the huge remittance flows from the Diaspora.
Mr. Sulaiman said the policy would also engage the skills, entrepreneurship, transnational transactions and ideas of the Diaspora.