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‘Brain Drain’ is a recurring phenomenon harming Black nations like Haiti and Nigeria

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Brain drain — the loss of critical human capital — is the migration of highly-educated people leading to a hole in the very societies and economies they left behind

What do the countries of Haiti and Nigeria have in common? Perhaps it is their high populations of Black and brown people? Or could it be the civil and political unrest that has recently plagued each country?

While all of these issues are in fact accurate, the one we are seeking to address here is the brain drain phenomenon. But what is brain drain and what does it have to do with the aforementioned countries and their issues? The notion that civil unrest spurs the emigration of the country’s most intelligent and highly trained people — the very individuals best equipped to remedy the perils of their countries — is not a novel idea.

In fact, the concept was introduced with the term “human capital flight” as early as post-World War II, to define the migration of highly-educated people leading to a hole in the very societies and economies they were leaving behind. This form of economic terrorism leads to the draining of resources in the form of human capital.

Economic terrorism, isn’t that a bit harsh? Studies say no as “the number of foreign-born people in rich countries has tripled since 1960, and the emigration of highly-skilled people from poor countries has continued to accelerate.” Developed countries, like the United States or United Kingdom have spent countless resources in order to attract foreign students and workers — and the ramifications of these decisions are often crippling for the poorer countries these immigrants are leaving.

Not only is there a dearth in the labor force, but oftentimes, the country is losing its most educated and skilled; highly- trained doctors, lawyers and engineers going to practice their craft in another country, places that don’t suffer from a lack of anything. And as we see in our examples it is often a traumatic event that spurs the flow of human beings to leave their homeland.

Take Haiti — a country riddled by violence and structural inequity. Although once upon a time Haiti was heralded as the “Pearl of the Antilles,” since the Duvalier regime, Haiti has seen a mass exodus of their best and brightest in search of a “better standard of living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions.” But who suffer most are the nations that are being abandoned.

In a country like Haiti, where there exists a general lack of post-secondary education, most individuals must leave the country altogether if they are interested in a college education or beyond. This spurs the intelligentsia or those of means to immigrate to places like the United States or France in order to better their life. However, this opportunity is not available to all Haitians. Sadly, within a country where most of the people live in poverty, this opportunity to flee is only yielded to its “Talented Tenth.”

This further exacerbates the two C’s — classism and colorism — leading to the dominance of the mulatto ruling class that isn’t discussed quite enough in a predominantly Black country.

Since Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated last month the economy has tanked. People are living in a perpetual state of fear and those who have the means to have left. This means the young professionals that are best equipped to grapple with Haiti’s deepest instabilities have evacuated. The very missing pieces of the puzzle — the agronomists, engineers, entrepreneurs, economists, city planners, writers, doctors and lawyers have all fled. The job market is abominable. And while people continue to burn tires in the street to protest Moïse’s death, Haiti’s best and brightest have settled into their new jobs in the Dominican Republic, Canada, France, and the United States.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview at his home in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Sources say Moise was assassinated at home, first lady hospitalized amid political instability. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File

This fight or flight phenomenon has been seen across the pond too in one of the very countries from which many Haitians originate — Nigeria. Since the late 1980s, Nigeria’s lofty middle and upper class has fled — shortly following the economic oil boom of the 1970s and early 1980s. This occurred again in the 1990s during the dominance of the military regimes in the country.

In Nigeria, like the case of many countries suffering from brain drain, the issues started within the medical community —yet now the issue of brain drain has decidedly permeated nearly every industry within the country. And although Nigeria boasts one of Africa’s largest economies, the unemployment bubble continues to swell. But why are Nigeria’s young people leaving?

It is difficult to openly explore the subject without understanding the social uprising and indeed revolutions that Nigeria witnessed last year via the #EndSARS movement, which addressed the violent police brutality within the country. Then on June 5, President Muhammadu Buhari indefinitely banned Twitter from the country after launching into a fury following the platform deleted tweets he made that arguably incited violence.

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Culture, alleged the ban would be lifted after Twitter submits to “local licensing, registration and conditions.” And while many viewed this as a severe tantrum by Nigeria’s president, others thought it was simply blowback for Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey choosing to make Ghana (Nigeria’s long-time nemesis) Twitter Africa’s headquarters. Whatever the case may be, Nigeria’s millennials do not do well with their freedom of speech being impinged upon.

All the while programs like “express entry” have made it easy for young Nigerians to emigrate to countries like Canada or Australia — as under the Trump administration the United States was no longer seen as a friendly haven after the former president’s vitriolic comments. In fact, Nigeria has taken the lead in countries like Canada with the most pending asylum claims — followed closely by Haiti. Like Haiti, it boils down to an education issue within Nigeria, with Nigerians hoping to secure a better education and future for their families and, quite frankly, not believing they can achieve this within Nigerian borders.

The importance of global competitiveness to Nigerians has pushed more and more out the door as many play the balancing act of keeping one foot outside the country for personal and professional success while still keeping one inside the country as a result of patriotism and family ties. And while all of Nigeria’s young professionals seek a better future for their beloved homeland, not many are convinced it will happen anytime soon, due to the political instability and corruption that continues to manifest throughout the country.

Despite Haiti’s and Nigeria’s many differences, what unites them is greater than what separates them. The continuation of the brain drain has continued to perpetuate and the only solution to this quandary is increased political stability and better education, resources and opportunities for the patriots that do choose to remain. Until these two countries figure out how to execute those goals they will continually face the loss of their best and brightest to the nation’s who colonized them in the first place — continuing the cycle in perpetuity.

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Wen-kuni Ceant is the CEO and Co-Founder of Politicking. She is a Fulbright Scholar and through the fellowship she studied health infrastructure in Senegal during the last year. She received her Masters in Public Health in Health Management and Policy in 2016 from Drexel University. Before Drexel, she attended Howard University, in Washington, D.C. where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors with a Bachelors of Science in Biology.

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Africa

IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu Sues Kenya Government For ‘Illegally Detaining, Extraditing’ Him To Nigeria

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According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, there are five respondents which are the Cabinet secretary, Director of Immigration Services, Director of Criminal Investigations, Commanding Officer of Police at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Attorney-General of Kenya.

Germany-based Kingsley Kanu has filed a suit against the Kenyan government at the High Court of Kenya, Nairobi for its involvement in the abduction and extraordinary rendition of his brother and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria.

According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, there are five respondents which are the Cabinet secretary, Director of Immigration Services, Director of Criminal Investigations, Commanding Officer of Police at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Attorney-General of Kenya.

Kanu’s special counsel in Nigeria, Aloy Ejimakor disclosed this to the media on Thursday with evidence of court documents.

The lawsuit read partly, “This petition concerns the unconstitutional and unlawful removal engineered by the respondents through abduction, denial of fair administrative action in violation of the human dignity of the subject: Nwannekaenvi Nnamdi Kenny Okwu’Kan (Mr Kanu) whose presence in Kenya was lawful and non-threatening.

“This petition seeks a declaration of rights and appropriate reliefs against the involuntary and illegal return of Mr. Kanu to Nigeria when there were substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited  by the Constitution of Kenya and the human rights treaties in force in Kenya.

“The petitioner is a German citizen ordinarily residing in Munich within Germany. This petitioner brings this petition on behalf of his brother, Mr. Kanu.”

While speaking on the suit with BBC according to the audiotape obtained by SaharaReporters through Ejimakor, Kanu’s lead counsel in Kenya, Prof. George Wajackoyah said there are pieces of proof that the Kenyan government was culpable despite its denial of involvement.

Wajackoyah stated that Kanu cannot be tried in Nigeria because there was no due process in repatriating him to Nigeria, which made it an extra rendition, and the fact that Kanu is a British citizen and has renounced his Nigerian citizenship.

He said. “We filed a petition today (Tuesday) against the Kenyan government and various actors in this case for their unconstitutional and unlawful removal which denied our client his human rights, which was engineered by 1st to 5th respondents in the violation of human rights of Nnamdi Kanu.

“We are serving the respondents and from there, we take on. Once we filed and served, then the court will give us a date, and that should be within a very short period of time because it was served under a certificate of urgency.”

Speaking on the evidence that indicted the Kenyan government, the Kenyan lawyer disclosed, “We have copies of his passport and a stamp that he was indeed in Kenya. We also have evidence he was in his residence on a particular day. We also have material proof that he was at the airport on a particular day to meet a friend and there he was arrested. Definitely, he was kidnapped.”

Wajackoyah further told BBC, “Why on earth will the Kenyan government deport a British citizen to Nigerian territory.  Kanu has renounced his Nigerian citizenship. Extradition and extra rendition are two things. Extradition has to follow due process, you can’t just pick up somebody and throw him. That’s barbaric. It’s outlawed by international law.

“If they are trying a Nigerian national, certainly (they will win). But, if they are trying a British national, not at all. It is an abuse of the court process for the Nigerian court to try a British citizen who has no connection with Nigeria and without due process. So, I have been given instruction by his family in London and his brother in Germany to file a lawsuit against the Kenyan government.”

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Africa

Nine killed as crane collapses in Nairobi

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Nine people, including two Chinese, were killed and two others injured Thursday after a crane collapsed at a construction site in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, police said.

The crane came crashing down while a team of workers was attempting to dismantle it, ZJCC, the Chinese construction company behind the project, said.

Seven Kenyans and two Chinese died in the accident, which also injured two people, said Andrew Mbogo, police chief of Kilimani neighbourhood, where workers were building the 14-storey student hostel.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

Eyewitnesses said they heard people screaming as the crane slammed into the ground.

“We were having lunch when we heard things falling and thought part of the building was coming down,” 27-year-old construction worker Michael Odhiambo told AFP.

“When we got there, we found a crane had snapped and tumbled down,” he said, adding that one of the workers managed to escape with his life thanks to a safety harness.

Josephine Matere, a food hawker, described seeing the green crane swing wildly as people desperately clung to it, their colleagues watching in horror.

“They were screaming and watching their colleagues fall,” she said, showing a video of the incident.

Fire fighters arrived at the scene nearly two hours after the bodies had been taken to a morgue in a police lorry.

The injured victims were being treated at a nearby hospital, police said.

ZJCC released a statement offering condolences and promising a full probe into the accident.

“We have since sealed off the site and are collaborating with the Kenya Police Service and the Directorate of Occupational Safety & Health Services (DOSHS) in conducting further investigations into the incident in accordance with laws and regulations governing construction sites in Kenya.”

The incident happened opposite the headquarters of the defence ministry, with military police now guarding the site.

Shoddy construction and flouted regulations have led to many such deadly accidents in Nairobi.

The East African nation is undergoing a construction boom, but corruption has allowed contractors to cut corners or bypass regulations.

At least three people died in December 2019 when a residential building collapsed in Nairobi.

That incident came three months after seven children died and scores were injured when their school was flattened in an accident blamed on third-rate construction.

In April 2016, 49 people were killed when a six-floor apartment building crumbled in the northeast of the capital after days of heavy rain caused floods and landslides.

The building, constructed two years earlier, had been scheduled to be demolished after being declared structurally unsound.

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Africa

Kenya Police Fail To Prosecute Citizen Who Stole N26.5million From Nigerian Investor

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Hashil conspired with people who pretended to be police officers and arrested and handcuffed him before driving him around town.

The police in Mombasa have released a Kenyan man suspecting of having masterminded the abduction and robbing at gunpoint of some $53,000 (N26,500,000) from Bitcoin accounts belonging to a Nigerian national (name withheld).

Police reports seen by the media indicated that Abdulmanaf Hashil is alleged to have used his closeness with the Nigerian man who is a Bitcoin trader to rob him of the currency from his mobile telephone.

The Nigerian, who has since gone underground for fear of his life and that of his immediate family including his Kenyan wife and four-year-old son, said that he had known Hashil since he arrived in Mombasa two years ago.

“Hashil even assisted me in getting a house in Nyali where I lived with my family.He regularly visited me and we become close as family even attending family outings together,” the Nigerian said.

The Nigerian man said that last week, Hashil conspired with people who pretended to be police officers and arrested and handcuffed him before driving him around town .

“All this time they were in constant communication with a person who was giving them instructions.A gun was pointed to my head and I was ordered to reveal the mobile pin number of my Bitcoin account,” he said

He managed to break free from his abductors on the night he was hijacked after he spotted police patrolling.

“I shouted for help calling on police to come to my rescue. My abductors seemed to know their game plan well and even handed me over to police and left. I was promptly arrested and told I had broken curfew rules as it was past 10.00 pm,” he said.

He added that all this time, his wife and a neighbour were searching for him and had reported him missing at the Nyali Police station.

The abductors are said to have gotten in touch with his wife pretending to be police officers and demanded to be sent money for him to be released.

His wife obliged and sent sh50,000 to the abductors.

The second day upon his release, the Nigerian discovered that all the monies in his Bitcoin accounts had been transferred from his mobile telephone.

”I reported the matter to Nyali Police station and was issued with an OB number OB 38/17/08/2021,” he said.

The media gathered that instead of charging Hashil to court, the police on Tuesday morning released him.

“He was supposed to be in court but was released this morning by the police. The police failed to charge him to court. Hashil even threatened the Nigerian man in the station right in presence of the police,” a source told the media.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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