• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

The japa phenomenon

Studying at home or abroad? – The choices before our children

Early this week, I read with trepidation the story of a young man who was said to have jumped to his death at a London airport because he did not want to return to Nigeria. Once I fact checked, it became clear that mischief makers and fake news purveyors were at it again. It was fake news. The real story is that an inebriated man jumped off a barricade at a United States airport. One often wonders what fake news purveyors gain. But in this case, we all know, don’t we?

There are several Nigerians with a plan to destroy their nation and describe it as the worst place on earth that it shocks the untruth they see willing to perpetrate in order for them to escape their country. They are even willing to disown their ancestry and forego their parents in order to live abroad.

It is truly sad that Nigerians believe Italians and Egyptians should come and fix Nigeria. We forget too quickly that Nigeria’s challenges are not caused by the nation as an entity but by its citizens.

While I have no issues with migration, I always prefer that it’s legal, but even then, there are no guarantees that it’s a better life

Tales continue to trickle in about how our compatriots have left duplexes to live in cubicles abroad and how people with good jobs have suddenly found themselves cleaning corpses. I read on social media two weeks ago a couple that returned home because after they sold everything they had, they found that they had a better life back home in Nigeria. They then swallowed their pride, returned home, and started all over again.

Another family of five, mother and four children, were deported from Germany last week after a decade because their attempt to get a permit to stay was denied severally. The stories are so gutting, it gives me a stomach ache. While I have no issues with migration, I always prefer that it’s legal, but even then, there are no guarantees that it’s a better life.

The owners of those countries do not want us, racism is high, and jobs are far and few between. Even professional jobs are hard to find. More than anything else, the disconnect and the trafficking going on are worse. Every time I see people sink on the high seas, my heart sinks to my feet.

Our children are being abandoned between Turkey and Greece, left in the deserts and abandoned to die on the high seas. The way I see it, there are major financial and psychological problems. Too many people believe they can never make it except they japa. Others have made up their minds that once they get there and it’s not as they had hoped, they cannot return to tell others to be wary.

Read also: Japa chronicles: Tips to thrive, integrate into a foreign workforce

Drugs and fraud is defining how Nigerians are defined abroad. It is sad. If your children go out there, any slight challenge financially, delay in money from home or financial difficulty, they do not cope and fall the way of the Nigerian fraudster community or the way of the sexually deviant, all to make a quick buck.

It is time for the government to be more conscious of this phenomenon where many citizens depart with no plan and end up miserable. They have agency of course but the Japa community needs guidance. In addition to everything, government, private sector, and non-state actors have to work hard to get Nigerian citizens to believe in their country.

If you know the truth, tell the japa community to look before they leap.

It is well.