High Levels of Brain Drain in Nigeria “worrisome”: Catholic Bishops in Owerri Province

Members of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province (OWEP) in Nigeria. Credit: Archdiocese of Owerri/Facebook

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria's Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri have decried what they describe as high levels of brain drain in the West African nation describing it as a “worrisome” trend that denies the nation the much-needed human resource for development.

In a statement following their meeting, the Bishops’ blamed the migration of professionals from Nigeria on unemployment, calling for the development of economic policies that they said could help revive the country’s economy. 

“In recent times we have witnessed a growing number of our professionals and young people desperately giving up everything to emigrate in search of jobs and better living conditions outside the shores of our country. This extensive brain drain is worrisome, and is denying the country the requisite manpower needed to revamp its economy and foster national development,” the Bishops said in the statement they shared with ACI Africa on Thursday, January 18.

They said that the trend had mostly affected the young people who “feel rejected by the very society into which they were born” because of high unemployment levels. 

“As the country continues to sink economically, and as our government continues to accumulate more and more debts, many young people have been led to frustration and despondency. The situation is worsened by the high level of youth unemployment in the country,” they said. 


The Local Ordinaries of Owerri Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Aba, Ahiara, Orlu, Okigwe, and Umuahia made an appeal to the Nigeria’s government “to initiate sound economic policies and programs that can revive our ailing economy, foster growth, and improve the ease of doing business in the country.” 

“A peaceful and secure environment will encourage investments, and the movement of goods and services across the regions of the country,” they said, adding that there is a need to fight nepotism and corruption “to enthrone the reign of competence and meritocracy in the country.”

The Bishops proposed the reforming of Nigeria’s current education system into one they said would equip the youth with skills needed for contemporary market-driven economies.

They also urged those in the private sector to collaborate with the government in creating employment opportunities, thereby “encouraging the flowering of the entrepreneurial spirit that we know exists among our people.”

This collaboration, the Bishops noted, would also give rise to new and innovative solutions to the economic challenges that the they said the country is facing.

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To Nigerian youth, the Bishops said, “Be ready to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship, to be ready for the rigors of technical training and the patience allied with job seeking and professionalism.”

“Shun the get-rich-quick syndrome and the so-called yahoo-yahoo (cybercrime) menace. These speak of attitudes that are anti-social and easily lead to criminal behavior,” the Bishops in Owerri Province said in their message to young people in Nigeria.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.