Youths Relocation Abroad: The “Japa” Syndrome in Nigeria

International travellers Lagos airport

The ‘japa’ (mass migration) syndrome is still trending in Nigeria like an unending pandemic even in 2023. The word ‘Japa’ is a Yoruba locution which means to leave the country for greener pastures in the Western world. It is commonly used as slang among Nigerian youths. It is very common to see a group of close friends or young couples with or without lucrative jobs or businesses leave the shores of Nigeria for the land of ‘milk and honey’.

Pathetically, the Nigerian “japa” situation is growing in leaps and bounds.  A recent survey from the Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey showed that seven out of 10 Nigerian youths are willing to relocate to other countries for various reasons, with a good number of them recording success. Currently, there is still an increasing rate of emerging urges to leave Nigeria by the old and the young. Now, the current net Nigeria migration rate is -0.273 per 1000 population, indicating that more people are emigrating from the country. It’s depressing that Nigeria is currently sinking deep into a brain drain, and it probably needs a call for an emergency.

Nigerians and mass migration: Addressing the Japa syndrome – The Daily  Reality

Also, recall that sometime last year, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors revealed that about 50 per cent of Nigerian doctors had already found their way out of the country. The University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, also noted that more than 600 of its clinical workers have resigned from their appointments, while the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital disclosed that more than 150 nurses resigned from their appointments with the tertiary hospital.

Today, it is disheartening that most of our friends and families who left the country are mostly highly skilled individuals with abundant talents across different sectors. In July 2022, the Association of Nigerian Students in Europe revealed that Europe alone has more than three million Nigerians enrolled in different higher institutions of learning. A survey also indicates that 89.87 per cent of Nigerian youths prefer to study in a university outside the country. Seventy-three per cent of Nigerians, 60 per cent of doctors, and 89.87 per cent of students want to leave the country. They want to flee the country. Tell me, what are they really seeing that the government appears not to be seeing?

Firstly, Nigerian youths are frustrated with socio-economic challenges fueled by unfulfilled government promises and bad leadership marked by the absence of transparency and accountability. The situation brought about cold development, siphoning scarce resources that could improve infrastructure and hinder education growth, and public health and stacking the deck against the poor masses.

The Japa Syndrome

In the socio-economic dealings in Nigeria, it is obvious that the youths are completely out of the picture. Rather than being empowered, they have been reduced to a bunch of frustrated citizens with many of them becoming political thugs and agents of destruction in the hands of the enemies of the country, while the children of these politicians study in prestigious institutions abroad and graduate in time, Nigerian undergraduates struggle with incessant strikes and worrisome teaching aids, lack of lecture rooms and other infrastructure suitable for learning.

In 2022, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is estimated to reach 33 per cent in 2023. This figure was projected to be 32.5 per cent in the preceding year. Chronological data show that the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose constantly in the past years. Nigeria’s youth population eligible to work is about 40 million out of which only 14.7 million are fully employed and another 11.2 million are unemployed.

In conclusion, for this seeming menace to cease, the government of Nigeria should put in place basic amenities and a safe nation where the lives and properties of her citizens are not threatened, maimed and killed at will.

ThankGod E. Airiohuodion (AwakeNigeria)

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