Lucy George, a development economist and former staff of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, has advised Nigerians to remain in Nigeria and contribute to its national and economic development.
George gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
She said Nigerians should pay attention to the overwhelming number of Nigerians that had been deported from various countries while escaping the poor economic level of development in Nigeria.
“We as Nigerians have a problem that should be tackled and that is the development of Nigeria."
“We can’t sit down and expect the Federal Government to do everything because developing a country requires the people in it to be productive and strengthening to the private sector."
“All the developed countries in the world are dominated by the private sector which creates massive employment opportunities and eliminates poverty,” she said.
George said that she was surprised that a large number of Nigerians had been sent back, especially from Libya.
“We have had an overwhelming number of Nigerians deported or voluntarily returned this year which is embarrassing."
“The largest number of Nigerian deportees for this year comes from Cameroon which deported about 100,000 Nigerians who escaped the Boko Haram disasters and sought refuge in Cameroon."
“That was seen to be an illegal deportation which still is being denied by some Cameroonian officials, however, we are not including that in the embarrassing statistics."
“I am surprised by the number of Nigerians that have been deported and have volunteered to return to Nigeria from Libya just this week as 161 people arrived on Thursday and 257 people did same on Tuesday."
“There were also 164 people deported in May, 171 in March and another 171 in February."
“In February and May, South Africa had deported 97 and 90 Nigerians respectively in midst of the xenophobic attacks."
“We saw it to be discriminatory at first, but later realized they actually did commit immigration-related offenses causing them to be deported by the South African authorities,” she said.
She added that Nigerians should remain in the country to develop it so that they won’t lose out when Nigeria becomes better.
“If everyone is leaving the county for greener pastures, who is expected to remain in Nigeria to develop it; anyone who doesn’t grow in the system will lose out when the country becomes better."
“Imagine a scenario where a young man graduates from the university then leaves Nigeria in search of greener pastures but after arriving, fails to succeed in the new land."
“He realizes that things are not as fabulous as portrayed in movies as these countries have tougher systems, especially because he doesn’t meet the requirements for career jobs in their country."
“He spends time being too embarrassed and broke to return to Nigeria but finally gets deported after many years".
“In that time, he has lost the opportunity to put his education to practice, develop productive skills, and has lost contact with friends who would have helped him develop himself or place him in a prominent position."
“Nigerians should learn to be hardworking and patient to see their hard work reap its benefits because riches don’t come overnight."
“The countries they are running to didn’t develop overnight so you can’t expect to comfortably reap what you didn’t sew thinking the roads are paved with gold."
“In summary, I will emphasize on the fact that there is no place like home so I hope Nigerians learn from these numerous Nigerians that have been brought back home."
Reports say that there has been a minimum of 1549 Nigerians sent back to Nigeria with the exemption of the controversial 100,000 sent from Cameroon.
Figures show there was a minimum of 23 Nigerians deported from Spain, 187 from South Africa, 924 from Libya, 110 from Italy, 41 from the U.S, 146 from the UK, and 118 from six other European countries.
The countries include Austria, Germany, Hungry, Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark.