How Human Rights Abuse Will Impact Migration from Nigeria

January 30, 2020

Jesutimilehin Akamo



Key Judgements


KJ-1. The economic relations between Ghana and Nigeria will worsen due to regional competition. While Ghana will advance its open-door policy for foreign investment and foreign workers, Nigeria is likely to lean on its long-term partner – China.


KJ-2. China will take advantage of the retail conflict between Ghana and Nigeria. The two West-African countries represent each other’s biggest trade partner. If relations between the two will become even more strained, China will step in as a major retail contractor.






Poor standard of living provides enough justification for the relocation of (young)  Nigerians. Despite expressing dissatisfaction, the Nigerian government is not responsive. Rather, it is highly likely that those who openly demand better governance experience repression and intimidation. The default response of government to anyone critical of it is problematic. Instead of addressing the issues raised, the government confronts it by dealing with person(s). This somewhat underlies the criticisms against the Social Media Bill and Hate Speech Bill currently at the floor of the Nigerian Senate.



The Nigerian government recently proved lack of respect for the independence and sanctity of the judiciary by violating court orders on multiple occasions. To the average Nigerian, therefore, lack of trust towards government is a realistic probability. This is because it is highly likely that the Social Media and ‘Hate Speech’ Bill may be used to violate the freedom of speech and expression. Thus, it is obvious that the hardship is gradually becoming more political in nature even though it has a clear socioeconomic background.



Government/security agencies within the last five years have further entrench the problem and it appears that there has been a misconception on whom they owe their purpose. Security agencies are either used as a tool of repression or engage in impunities of their own accord. The former is covered in the first paragraph while the latter brings to bear examples like the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force and the #EndSARS movement, and other regular Police officers. Young people are at risk of being exploited by first being accused of cyber-crime because of their possession, dressing, or intuition of the officer without evidence, and then being asked to pay a certain amount to bail themselves out. On many occasions in different states, young people get beaten or illegally locked up, or killed. Gradual, panic among young people is on the rise because the government is also increasingly becoming a source of insecurity, mostly characterized by human rights violations.



The labour market is very weak. For instance, the population of young medical professionals leaving the country is alarming and the most common destinations are the UK, Canada, India, and Pakistan. Only about 4% of Nigeria’s budget goes into Health Care, and the Health Care infrastructure is poor. Beyond these, and coupled with the doubt over safety, it becomes more challenging to experience a situation where freedom of speech and expression is constantly under threat by the government. Indirectly, the message is to ‘keep quiet’ irrespective of the hardship.



Concerns over human right violations by the government or its security agencies is increasing and the Nigerian government is taking little or no action for a redress. It also appears to engage more violations in response to critics. Also, young people are increasingly seeing the need to leave the country out of fear of the future and the unknown. It is almost certain that if this trend continues or worsens, migration of young people, especially professionals, will increase within the next three years. It is also vital to note that host countries like Canada are encouraging the migration. It is against this backdrop that this article arrived at its key judgments. However, GreyDynamics African Intelligence Report predicts that there is a realistic probability that migration of young people from Nigeria may not increase as predicted if: 



  • Panic over human right is well managed through legal redress, the media and other reasonable means,


  • The government relaxes on its hard-handedness, or


  • Young Nigerians, against all odds, decide to fight back










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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grey Dynamics LTD.

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