At this rate, I’m no longer shocked by statements made by Nigerian politicians. This morning on Channels Television’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily, the minster of labour and employment Chris Ngige was asked a question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies in Nigeria to the detriment of the nation’s health sector.
His response, which he said with a straight face: “No, I am not worried about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.
“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.”
First, does Ngige live in Nigeria? Has he been to teaching hospitals to see the ratio of doctors to the hordes of patients? Nigeria is one of the countries most affected with the emmigration of medical countries, and this brain drain is rooted in Nigeria’s unfavourable environment and stagnancy. There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, and over half practise outside the country. How is that enough for the country? Sometimes I wonder if our public office holders are in tune with reality.