NIGERIA’s weak economy and widespread insecurity as well as bad governance have been identified as the key push factors driving the recent trend of Nigerians seeking migration opportunities to Canada.
A new study report titled “Deconstructing the Canada Rush: Motivations for Nigerians Emigrating to Canada, released on Tuesday by Africa Polling Institute revealed that Nigerians are rushing to Canada because Nigerian government has failed to provide them opportunities and security.
“Simply put, Nigerians are not emigrating to Canada because they want to, they are going there because they do not believe Nigeria provides them any opportunities, and security, to thrive as citizens,” said Beh Ihua, Executive Director of the institute.
A large number of those who were polled also preferred Canada over Nigeria due to their desire to provide a better future for their children.
In the last few years, the number of Nigerians seeking to emigrate to Canada has maintained an upward trajectory, it said.
It said Nigerians who are emigrating to Canada are not the ordinary poor Nigerians, but are the highly skilled, well educated, mostly employed and upwardly mobile group of individuals, who constitute the middle-rung of the socio-economic class of the country.
The study report also identified favourable Canadian immigration policies as pull factors that are also making it easy for well-educated and highly skilled Nigerians to migrate, noting that the trend would not end soon.
Ihua explained that “Our study highlights existential gaps in government’s inability to stimulate a strong thriving economy, galvanize an effective security architecture that delivers security to all citizens, and promote institutional reforms to deliver public goods to citizens.”
“A resounding theme from this study is that most individuals are migrating in search of opportunities, whether in the form of employment and career advancement, educational opportunities or for a safer and more secure future for their children.
“This highlights sentiments to suggest that these indicators seem somewhat elusive in the Nigeria of today. The results however suggest that migration is fueled more by the pursuit of opportunities, than by the fear of danger(s).”
He emphasised that there is every need to strengthen current policies that stimulate economic growth and development in the country, which will make staying in Nigeria an attractive option
“At the very least, the government needs to invest more in basic infrastructure and actively tackle corruption,” Ihua said.
“Furthermore, the country can position itself to more actively take advantage of its youth bulge to be a hub for technology, industry and manpower development.”
“The government should also strengthen policies and programs aimed at actively managing labour migration from the country by engaging with foreign partners.”
Canada, he explained, had signaled interest to work with Nigeria in this direction with the visit of Canada’s Immigration Minister to Nigeria in May 2018, to engage support from Nigeria’s government to tackle irregular migration.