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Migrants rescued off the coast of Libya wait to disembark from the supply vessel OOC Panther in the Sicilian port of Messina, Italy, in April 2017.

74% of Nigerians would “check out like Andrew” if they had the opportunity

A study by the Pew Research Center has shown that 74% of Nigerians “who would live in another nation if circumstances permitted”.  Ghana had the highest percentage of sub-Saharan Africans that would bail out – at 75%, with Nigerian coming a close second.

The Center provided this explanation for their findings:  “Between February and April 2017, Pew Research Center surveyed in six of the 10 countries that have supplied many of the sub-Saharan immigrants now living in the U.S. Four of these countries – Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Kenya – are also among the top 10 origin countries for sub-Saharan migrants to Europe.

“The survey asked respondents whether they would go to live in another country, if they had the means and opportunity. At least four-in-ten in each sub-Saharan country surveyed answered yes, including roughly three-quarters of those surveyed in Ghana (75%) and Nigeria (74%).

“The relatively high shares of people in these countries who say they would resettle in another country is generally consistent with findings from other surveys, like Afrobarometer in Nigeria and Ghana, that pose questions about the desirability of migrating. Compared with other world regions, Gallup polls find that sub-Saharan countries have some of the highest shares of people who say they would move to another country.

“What’s behind the widespread appeal of migrating in some sub-Saharan countries? Multiple factors could be at play. To begin with, while many sub-Saharan African economies are growing, many countries continue to have high unemployment rates and relatively low wage rates. In addition, the job market looks unlikely to improve anytime soon, thanks to high fertility levels that will mean even more people competing for jobs. Against this backdrop, sub-Saharan Africans could see migrating to countries with more – and better paying – jobs as a means of improving their personal economic prospects.

However, fewer numbers have concrete plans of moving – for obvious reasons such as funding.

Nigeria has seen a chronic brain drain of many people of working age since the mid 1980s.  The “exodus” from Nigeria inspired a public service commercial on national TV in the 1980s, featuring the actor Enebeli Elebuwa as “Andrew”, who wanted to “check out” because he was fed up with living in the country.  A significant proportion of those that “checked out” are highly qualified and their migration has had adverse effects in sectors such as healthcare.

However, there has been some gain for the country in terms of the money sent back to relatives in Nigeria from Nigerians abroad, which the World Bank estimates to be over $20bn a year.  This has become Nigeria’s second highest foreign exchange earner after oil.

See below for more on the survey:

At Least a Million Sub-Saharan Africans Moved to Europe Since 2010

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