First Lady Tinubu, governors’ wives discuss ‘japa’ syndrome, brain drain

First Lady Oluremi Tinubu has called on Nigerians in the diaspora to contribute their quota to the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of President Bola Tinubu.

She also called on Nigerian youths to have hope in the efforts of her husband to deliver the dividends of democracy and provide for their basic needs.

“The brain drain phenomenon, where highly skilled individuals leave their home country for supposedly better prospects abroad, is a concern for many African nations, depriving them of their expertise and talents needed for sustainable growth,” Ms Tinubu stated. “In our various communities, we must work towards creating conditions and providing basic needs that allow people to thrive by providing access to qualitative education, an enabling environment for job creation.”

According to the UN, in 2022, 26,400 Nigerians sought asylum abroad, while 27,000 Nigerians were recognised as refugees and granted protection in that year.

The first lady added, “We must revamp our healthcare sector to ensure basic healthcare services are accessible to all. Improve health care conditions and stronger social support system that discourage migration driven by health concerns.”

Ms Tinubu made the call on Monday at the New York 2023 Nigeria Economic Growth and Trade Summit with the theme ‘Stemming Migration Flows by Providing Basic Needs’ at Nigeria House in New York.

The Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum organised the summit on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The first lady said while migration could offer new opportunities and experiences, it also presented risks and challenges that could manifest in brain drain.

“Also, combating food security by investing in sustainable agricultural programs, especially in rural areas, can reduce the pressure of rural-urban migration. I can’t over-emphasise the need for conflict resolution and promotion of peace and stability in regions prone to violence,” noted Ms Tinubu.

Ms Tinubu commended the first ladies for their initiatives, noting that complementing the efforts of their husbands would enhance economic empowerment in their respective states.

“‘The Renewed Hope Initiative’ is an initiative that we just started, aimed at creating a better life for families. Our scope covers agriculture, education, economic empowerment, health and social investment, focusing on women and the youth, who are the bedrock of the society,” the Nigerian president’s wife explained. 

“As youths account for 70 per cent of our population and women represent 49.6 per cent of the population. I believe that schemes which focus on empowering this demographic, coupled with an enabling environment, will gradually begin to reverse the negative trend of migration,” she added.

Chairwoman of the governors’ wives forum Olufolake AbdulRazaq, Tamunominini Makinde, Bamidele Abiodun, Chioma Uzodimma, Asma’u Yahaya, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Falmata Zulum and Rashidat Yahaya Bello attended the event in New York. 


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