The average Nigerian wants to leave the country. The reasons aren’t far-fetched. They want to leave the country due to bad leadership that has accumulated over the years. The surge in the number of Nigerians applying for International Passport is a huge indicator.
This phenomenon has led to the popularization of a Yoruba word known as Japa (pronounced as Jakpa)
Japa means traveling abroad via relocation or scholarship. Or to seek greener pastures in a foreign land. On a serious note, it means running away from a disastrous event.
Nigerian youths over the years have lost hope in the country as leadership failure continues to go worse. However, there is a belief amongst them that Nigeria might witness a turnaround in 2023 after the presidential election.
They hope that their preferred presidential candidate, Peter Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State gets into office having shown many signs of leadership traits the average youth looks forward to.
Regardless, it has not stopped Nigerians who can afford the cost to have a plan B. In the Nigerian context, having a plan B means getting ready to travel out of the country for survival.
According to the Federal Government, Nigerians received more than 1.9 million worth of passports between January 2021 and June 2022.
Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of the Interior, said 650,000 booklets were collected by Nigerians as of June 2022, out of a total of 1.3 million given in 2021.
There is no longer a shortage of booklets in the nation, according to Aregbesola, who spoke on Tuesday at the launching of the Enhanced Passport Production Center in Port Harcourt.
Aregbesola claimed that enough booklets had been distributed across the various centers nationwide in a statement by his Media Adviser, Sola Fasure.
We have done everything in our power to ensure that Nigerians have access to passports, the statement said in part.
“We gave Nigerians 1.3 million passports just last year. There is no lack of booklets in Nigeria as of right now. Out of the 750,000 applications received as of the second quarter of this year (in June), the NIS has issued 645,000 passports. We have dispatched 11,000 booklets to Ikoyi, 11,000 to Alausa, and 8,000 to FESTAC centers in Lagos to solve the issue of the backlog.
“We have also distributed enough pamphlets to all national centers to handle this issue. Therefore, there is once more no justification for a delay or a failure to issue within a fair amount of time,” the Minister said.
Why Nigerians are Leaving the Country?
According to a recent Open Doors Report, published by the Washington-based Institute of International Education (IIE), enrolment from Nigeria to American universities has been on the increase.
Nigerian students are increasingly fleeing the country in pursuit of tertiary education abroad due to issues with access, quality, funding, strikes, cultism, and the stability of the academic calendar in the education sector, especially in the public sector.
The young unemployment rate reached a record high of 42.5 percent. Also, due to the effects of unemployment, social vices like armed robbery, banditry, and kidnapping have intermittent surges, which makes it harder for the Federal Government to attract the investmentt required for job development.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently in Lagos, bemoaned the high rate of unemployment among Nigerians, stating that roughly 40% of young people were jobless, during the lecture titled: “Nigeria-A Country of Many Nations: A Quest for National Integration.”
He acknowledgesd that young people are dejected, irate, and restless as they consider a future that offers them little hope, but he also insisted that there is still hope since young people have a crucial role to play if the nation is to achieve its goal.
Poverty is also another reason Nigerians are leaving the country. According to the World Bank, in 2018 around 82.9 million Nigerians were extremely poor, and that number had risen to 90 million in 2021 due to high inflationary prices.
The National Bureau of Statistics’ most recent estimate of inflation, revealed that the country’s inflation increased to 18.60% in June, the highest level since January 2017, when it was 18.72%.
According to the NBS, in June 2022, the inflation rate rose to 18.60% on an annual basis. This is 0.84 percentage points higher than the rate, which was 17.75 percentage points in June 2021.
Can the Nigerian Government Benefit from the Japa Syndrome?
Olumide Adesina, a Quantum Economics investment expert, said that migration from Nigeria to other developed countries is advantageous to Nigeria and could increase FX liquidity.
“The largest economy in Africa benefits overall from emigration. For instance, by lowering the labour pool of the sending country, emigration helps to lower unemployment and improve the wages of the remaining workers.
“Also, emigrants from Nigeria frequently send money home, enhancing the standard of living for their families and contributing to the growth of domestic economies and trade balances.
“In recent decades, Nigeria’s influx of remittances from emigrants in Nigeria has increased substantially. These remittances enable foreign exchange earnings, foreign direct investment, aid, and other private capital investments.