Japa: Nigerians Groan Abroad

TRAVELING across borders is not an outlandish venture, but it becomes burdensome when it is forced. People travel for reasons of economy, social, health care, tourism, education, refugee, and leisure. While the industrial revolution in Europe was central to the expansionist voyages Europeans made to the continent of Africa, the Atlantic Slave Trade was a major factor that moved blacks into new spatial civilizations. Cross-racial dealings today are manifests of movements. However, in postmodern global neoliberal period, migrations from developing nations to developed ones are responses to socio-political and economic pressures, as the people go in search of ‘a greener pasture’.

IT is for the foregoing that Japa, euphemistically or symbolically indicating in the local parlance an escape from danger, got introduced to Nigeria lexicon, based on induced migration. The forced exit has been as a result of harsh economy, insecurity and quest for better life, which led to mass exodus of Nigerian professionals, particularly those in their productive years. Critical sectors of Nigeria economy, like education, health, banking, ICT, and telecommunication have been severely hit by the huge number of employees that left their jobs for betterment overseas. The social media is usually awash of the sense of relief and fulfillment these people exude in their displayed pictures that usually tell the stories of their new realities.      

HOWEVER, in spite of the excitement and desired settlement that was shown and nursed at the point of departing, most Nigerians, who had high expectations at their departure, are beginning to see realities that offensively contrasted with their expectations. As against the desire of an Eldorado, the reality on ground turned their expectations of greener pastures to a mirage. This is because they are saddled with the obligations of paying back the loans they took, to facilitate their movement, and as well as struggle with the payment of bills and wrestle with scarcity of jobs, particularly students who had to pay a high percentage of their school fees in millions, before departing Nigeria.   

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GIVEN the high living expenses and the stultification occasioned by job scarcity, life is becoming very difficult for most of the migrants. We could then state it, categorically, that they are groaning, going by what is available in the media. The Hope is aware that beyond the beautiful environment that these new abodes promise, the migrants are also faced with the imperative of having to work for what they enjoy. Another very serious unpalatable situation of these exiled Nigerians is the pain of racial discrimination, however mildly coated it would be. Many of them didn’t realise this dimension to living in a new clime on time. Many can’t work because they lack appropriate papers.

PAINFULLY too, people who left good employments back in Nigeria are forced to undertake menial jobs abroad. The global economic crises have made migration a difficult decision, as the experience in Nigeria is that migrants are made to lose economically when converting naira to dollar, only for the naira to strengthen against the dollar at a later time in the future. While it is a welcomed development that the naira should appreciate against the dollar, which is the international official currency for trading, such gain is also usually dreaded by migrants that would want to repatriate money back home. This economic imbalance makes life very precarious for them, as they struggle to pay back the loans they took to support their journey.

THE HOPE is also aware of people that patronised agents who gave them fake travelling documents, leading to their being deported, as soon as they arrive their dreamed country. Some of these returnees do head straight to the farm, to hide their misfortunes, until they attain some stability in the Nigeria system. Out of desperation, some of the Nigeria migrants would tell lies to justify their seeking asylum, with the possibility of some bribing security agents to declare them wanted, as a simulation of persecution and victimhood. For many, academic pursuit is merely a ploy to escape the Nigeria shores. 

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QUITE relevantly, the recent revelation by the government of Belgium that many Nigerians are sleeping on Belgian streets, under very extremely cold weather, is a pointer to the fact that Japa is not an absolute option to be taken, without restraint. We, very unequivocally, admit that overseas is not a bed of roses, and The Hope advises people to exercise great caution before contemplating traveling. Noteworthy, similarly, is the fact that most governments in foreign countries are coming up with policies to protect jobs for their citizens.

THE HOPE reiterates the need for travelling, for various legitimate reasons, but would very vigorously suggest that intending travelers should take due diligence to follow established processes for obtaining documents. They should note that their destination is not a bed of roses, but a human system that has its own challenges, both physical and emotional. The Nigeria government should also strive to solve the economic, academic, health, infrastructure and security challenges that make forced migration an option to Nigerians. This is not to forget the fact that no nation grows by losing its quality and productive manpower to other nations.  

Japa: Nigerians Groan Abroad

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