Exodus of skilled and technology savvy Nigerian youths from Nigeria is gradually becoming a source of concern to the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
ALTON, which is an umbrella body for telecoms operators in Nigeria, has therefore called on government at all levels to find innovative ways to mitigate the exodus of youths from the country.
The Chairman, ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, who disclosed this, said other than insecurity, the West African region is challenged due to drop in economic development and instabilities in countries in the area.
As such, Adebayo said this has led to mass exodus of youths, especially from Nigeria leaving the country. Specifically, he said technology skilled and savvy youths from Nigeria are leaving the country almost on a daily basis.
The ALTON Chairman stated this, when he was conferred with the “Africa Patriotic Award”, by the Trans-African Youth Initiative (TAYI) in Lagos at the weekend.
According to him, the most painful thing about the exit of youth, “is that majority of these youths, especially the tech savvy ones move to less developed countries because they are looking for opportunities and stability, which is currently missing here.”
While appealing to government to make things work in the country, Adebayo appealed to youths in the country, and region to take up the responsibility of developing the nation.
“Africa is faced with many challenges such as insecurity and emigration of youths across the West African region. In Nigeria, the challenges of kidnapping and banditry are on the rise, and ALTON is concerned deeply about these challenges. Investment thrives where it is welcomed and if there is no stability in African economies; investors will not come to invest. Today, the African region is losing its population to other economies because the youths are migrating in search of better socio-economic guarantees. ALTON therefore challenges African youths to take responsibility now and in the future because the future is in the hands of the youths. African youths must remain in the African region to rebuild the economies of the region.”
He further said if all youths in the region decided to migrate to other regions, “who would then rebuild the Africa region.”
“African youths therefore have a duty to remain in the region through thick and thin to rebuild the region, he added. He advised the youth leaders of TAYI to encourage its members and other youths across Africa to remain in Africa to rebuild the African economy, which includes the Nigerian economy.
“There are influxes of foreign goods into Africa and if African youths continue to migrate out of Africa, time will come when Africa cannot produce local goods for African consumption, thereby leaving the region’s economy in the hands of foreigners,” Adebayo said.
Appreciating TAYI for the recoginition bestowed on ALTON and himself, Adebayo disclosed that the ICT/ telecoms sector has remained crucial to global economies, “part of which was witnessed during the thick period of COVID-19 pandemic, especially in 2020. The telecoms sector demonstrated strength last year and it is doing it. During the COVID period, telecoms sector kept the economies going on. No single outage all through the period. We are proud about the sector’s contributions to keep the economy going.”
Presenting the award, Country Representative, TAYI, Bakare Luqman, said the group is the officially recognized voice of the 1.2 billion young people of the Commonwealth. He said it is the largest and most diverse youth-led organization in Africa.
Luqman said TAYI plays an integral role in advancing the youth development agenda and co-ordination of activities and policies of the Commonwealth in the field of youth. He said the council works for and represents the voice of all young people within the 54 Commonwealth nations.
On the award, he said the recipient has earned himself the Nelson Mandela most revered Africa Patriot award of excellence as “Africa Patriotic Leader”, and also ALTON as “Most Productive Telecom Association in Africa”, which was unanimously agreed at the national executive meeting held at the United Nations Youth Assembly, New Portein, South Africa.