Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says Nigerians now “shamefully” pay dollars to study in universities in neighbouring West African countries.
Emefiele said this on Tuesday while responding to questions from journalists after the monetary policy committee (MPC) briefing in Abuja.
He condemned the pervasiveness of educational and medical tourism as he discussed the impact of CBN’s interventions in both sectors.
The apex bank’s governor noted that a combination of medical and educational tourism costs the country a total of $10 billion, and asked all stakeholders to work together in bringing an end to it.
“Our interest in this is that it reduces medical tourism. Medical tourism today, in Nigeria, consumed nothing less than $10 billion. At least $10 billion is what we spend in a combination of medical tourism and educational tourism,” Emefiele said.
Nigerians now shamefully pay dollars to study in West African varsities, says Emefiele
“Nigerians now go to school shamefully in some of our neighboring West African countries and they pay dollars. I do understand the feelings of ASUU, the feelings of our lecturers, but they need also to know that by keeping these children at home, their parents, looking at them, it is a dangerous trend that we all must place our hands on deck and see what can be done to stop what is happening in educational tourism in Nigeria.
“But again, I must say that I’m happy that there are very strong private universities that have sprung up in Nigeria. And we can only just continue to encourage them so as to continue to lift the standards of education in Nigeria. Let’s not forget ladies and gentlemen, people see that health and education are the bedrock of development of any country.
“We cannot afford to relegate them to the background. So everything that needs to be done to improve the level of health care and education in Nigeria. We should all put our hands on deck to get this done. But I repeat your selfish interest of CBN here is that we need to stop medical and educational tourism in Nigeria.”
Further speaking on medical tourism, Emefiele commended Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo for patronising a Nigerian hospital for his recent surgery.
He said Osinbajo’s act was exemplary and proves that world-class hospitals exist in the country.
“First, let me seize this opportunity to wish His Excellency the Vice-President well, and quick recovery after his successful surgery at Dutchess International Hospital here in Lagos. I thank the Vice-President, because what he has done is to set an exemplary example to say that in Nigeria, you can go to a hospital and get treated no matter how highly placed that you are” he said.