One in three Nigerians (mostly the young and educated) have considered leaving the country for one reason or another, a survey shows.
The civic group, CLEEN Foundation, said this discovery was made from a recent survey it conducted with Afrobarometer.
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues across more than 35 countries in Africa.
The CLEEN study further shows that among the potential emigrants, about one in eight, deliberately decide to travel out of Nigeria for reasons ranging from wanting to find a job to trying to escape hardship in the country.
Data from the survey which was released on December 18, to mark the International Migrants Day, seems to tackle an international migration crisis that has seen thousands of would-be emigrants return home with stories of fear, torture, and even the selling of emigrants as slaves.
Emigration is a disease which has eaten deep into the Nigerian system; and recent reports by the Nigerian in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) revealed that more than 1500 African migrants seeking better opportunities in Europe through illegal routes have died in the Mediterranean Sea alone in 2017. Many of the victims are Nigerians, with about 2,778 Nigerians identified in Libyan detention camps.
Key findings made by this survey show that:
· One-third of Nigerians say they have considered emigrating, including 11 per cent who say they have given "a lot" of thought to the idea.
· Among those who have considered emigrating, 12 per cent say they are taking concrete steps to leave the country, such as seeking a visa, while 35 per cent say they plan to leave within the next year or two but are not yet making concrete preparations, and 52 per cent say they had considered emigrating but have not made specific plans yet.
· The most common reasons for leaving cited by potential emigrants are to find work (35 per cent) and escape economic hardship (24 per cent).
· About eight in 10 potential Nigerian emigrants are aged 35 or younger, including 45 per cent who are 25 or younger.
· Eight in 10 potential emigrants have at least a secondary education, including 35 per cent who have post-secondary school qualifications.
· About half (52 per cent) live in urban areas.
Although no fewer than 1,594 illegal emigrants from Nigeria returned from January through May this year, many more are still stranded outside the country, having been deceived of a better life by traffickers, so said a representative from International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Lagos, Nahashon Thuo.
In this survey, respondents were asked: How much, if at all, have you considered moving to another country to live?
Respondents who said they had considered emigration "a lot," "somewhat," or "a little bit" were asked: How much planning or preparation have you done in order to move to another country to live?
Respondents who said they had considered emigrating were asked: There are several reasons why people leave their home to live in another country for an extended period of time. What about you?
What is the most important reason why you would consider moving from Nigeria?
Respondents who said they had not considered emigrating were excluded from further calculations and questions.