The Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Michel Arrion says there are more Nigerian nurses working in Europe than in Nigeria.
Arrion made this observation in Abuja on Thursday while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), saying that the health professionals would be of better service to Nigeria than elsewhere.
He stated that a situation whereby some Nigerians travel to European countries and remained to work was not in the best interest of the country.
“You give visas to students and they study in Europe and they stay in Europe. No, please go back and develop your country. I think it is very important. We must avoid what we call brain drain.
“I always take the example of the number of Nigerian nurses in European Hospitals. There are more Nigerian nurses in European hospitals than in Nigeria. But of course, if they go back (to Europe), if they send back money, that’s very good.
“They (Nigerians) should be better trained (in Europe) and come back (to Nigeria) and better serve and provide and deliver social services to their compatriots,” he said.
Earlier, Arrion, in a statement said that Nigeria was an important country of origin of regular and irregular migration to the EU and its member-states.
According to him, many of them risk their lives and perish in the Mediterranean.
The EU official explained that there were almost 9,000 Nigerian illegal migrants in Europe in 2014.
“In 2014, Nigerians accounted for an estimated 8,700 out of the 283,532 irregular migrants entering EU borders, many of whom risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
“However, majority of Nigerians enter and reside in EU legally and millions of Diaspora Nigerians are residing in the EU.
“As a regional economic power, Nigeria is also on the receiving end of migration, attracting an estimated three million labour workers from neighbouring countries.
“In the first half of 2015, Nigerian citizens ranked ninth of all persons granted international protection in EU’s 28 member states.
“Nigerian nationals are the most numerous among non-European victims of trafficking in human beings and they are also the most numerous among traffickers,” he said.