By Mutiu Iyanda
Both human beings and animals are not created to be static and restrict their movements to a single place. Every living creature is bound to move from one location to another, especially when the current location is no longer favourable to securing socioeconomic needs. From the stone ages to the modern era, movement of goods and people is a must.
In the last 10 years, there are reports on migration from south to the north and west to the east. The reports have significantly been about people moving from developing countries to the developed ones in search of better socioeconomic opportunities due to poverty, insecurity and political factors. In 2017, more than 1.2 million Nigerians left the country to developed countries. In 2018, OECD’s report through its experts notes that 50% of Nigerians would leave the country if there are means and opportunity to take the journey.
As noted earlier, moving from one country to another should not be a significant issue. But it becomes an issue when the media always see bad happenings in the migrants’ home countries and portray destinations as better to live than theirs. The world is not created by the God to be divided into ‘developed’, developing’, ‘global south’ and ‘global north’. These words are man’s creation, which has been the basis of understanding happenings across the world.
The United States of America, Canada, Europe, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand are categorised as global north based on socioeconomic advances and better public administration. The entire Africa, Latin America, developing Asia and the Middle East are being portrayed as global south using low socioeconomic status and deficiencies in governance.
This means that the gap in development and wealth remains the core factor of distinguishing between the global north and south, which news media on both sides do not hesitate to appropriate in their reportage over the years. Despite bad happenings in the global north, media do not always emphasize them over the good ones. But, in the global south, the media believe bad events would attract huge revenue to their establishments.
Where the conspiracy lies
In a research jointly conducted with other colleagues, result indicates that the volume of negative socioeconomic situations reported by the Global South and North news media organisations about Nigeria in 2010 and 2013 connect with Nigerians choice destinations during the years. Over 30% of 344,159 Nigerians who migrated to the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Italy, Ireland, France and Australia did it because of the poor education system reported by the media.
This year, The Punch Newspaper’s report about the number of Nigerians studying in the United States of America increased Nigerians’ interest in acquiring higher education in the country. The report notes that number of Nigerians studying in the country increase from 12,693 in 2018 to 16,039 in 2019. As the media report more of the negatives about Nigeria, countries capped as developed are not relenting in wooing best hands from Nigeria using different approaches. Scholarships, international jobs for competent professionals and visa lottery are the core strategies for attracting Nigerians by the developed countries in the last decade.
For instance, analysis shows that Nigerians’ interest about Canada’s Express Visa Entry increased from 18% in 2016 to 33% in 2018. Since January 2019, the interest about visa lottery programmes of Canada, USA and Australia has been increasing from people living in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Delta and Rivers states.
Our analysis shows that between 2010 and 2013 both the Global South and North media had a significant number of publications on economic opportunities in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Australia, Germany and Canada. The USA, UK, France, Canada and Australia also featured prominently in publications on good living conditions, followed by Ireland. Under the financial stability reportage, USA, UK, Germany, Australia and France were above Canada. Analysis also indicates that USA, France, Canada, Ireland, Spain and Italy had significant publications that established quality education and training in 2010 and 2013. United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, United States of America, United Arab Emirates and Ireland were the top countries for the volume of publication in social and cultural identification. As the media report these happenings, analysis indicates that economic opportunities, better living conditions, quality education and training interested the public most.
Is Nigeria powerless in taming the publication tide? Answers to this question seems to come from Omoyele Sowore, one of the professionals in the media industry, who recently notes that African media need to change their framing of migration and the kind of agenda they are setting for the governments and policy makers. From the professionals in other industries, Nigerians movement to the countries should not be seen as a total loss to the country. According to them, some Nigerian Diasporas are making a significant impact on the country, especially the funding of startups, new skills transfer and building of business networks back home.