Japa Bug: Need For Caution


Increasingly, the crave of many Nigerians to migrate to countries of the West is hitting the roof top. Sometimes, they try to achieve same through illegal routes amid the unmitigated risks involved.

In a parlance, Japa has come to be the nearest synonym to fleeing the country whether legally or otherwise. The Japa bug has caught up with not a few young and middle-aged Nigerians who think they are better off seeking greener pastures outside our shores  so much that there has been unrelenting schemes to achieve same.

They find countries including- United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany among a few others as choice destinations to perfect their Japa schemes. While some of these countries are arms open to receive the migrating.

For the benefit of retrospection, not too ago, some nations were advertently inviting professionals in particular sectors to take up jobs without the attendant bottlenecks often associated if the job seekers were making such moves on their own volition. The health sector was particularly the stock in trade as many professionals in the sector took advantage of the leeway to leave the country.  

However, we are not sure if such latitude still exists for such specialists to explore, as the coast is not too clear on that. With these genuine migrants whose specialties is giving them the leverage to leave the country, it is not in doubt that thousands try to find their way outside the country without either requisite documents nor verifiable credentials to qualify them for skilled jobs. Sadly, in the quest to japa by all means, several booby-traps have been placed by international syndicates with their local accomplices who have ripped off several thousands of would-be migrants.

We are as concerned as the International Organization for Migration ,IOM, which has cautioned against falling prey to job syndicates offering fake jobs abroad, saying that over 1,000 Nigerians who have fallen victim to such are stranded in Europe and other parts of the world.

The IOM Chief of Mission to Nigeria, Mr Laurent de Boeck, who gave the warning on Friday in Maiduguri at an end-of-the-year media briefing highlighting the impact of the mission’s humanitarian response in Nigeria, said that unfortunately, the victims of the job syndicate have legal migration papers with fake employment letters which were usually dissociated by presumed employers overseas.

He said IOM in collaboration with the Federal Government facilitated the return of 4,431 Nigerian migrants from abroad in 2023 and supported their reintegration, adding that a total of 2,853 individuals received reintegration assistance, engaging in socio-economic opportunities of their choice.

He said through the nine humanitarian hubs in the North-East, IOM provided essential services to 6, 773 individuals from 199 humanitarian organisations, fostering collaboration and coordination.

He further said that no fewer than 2,311 out of the total figure of 160,000 surrendered members of Boko Haram terrorists have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society, with about 89% of indigenous people of Borno State, while others were spread from across the states of the country according to their choice of location of reintegration.

We commend IOM for its often timely intervention on issues relating to our status in the global migration hub even as it is disturbing that Nigerians would embark on journeys without requisite permits and considerable level of job assurances.

For nation’s who as a matter of policy require the expertise of particular vocations, it is not a concern perse. However, we are aversed to migration for the sake of it without defined inclination. That thousands of Nigerians are stranded abroad is embarrassing and not giving our nation a good image in the comity of nations.

Agreed, our economy is not looking up at the moment but that does not give room for despair and desperation. These nations which have become these choice destinations were at one time or the other in the throes of very disquieting economic malaise. How they were able to get out of the woods is the essential lesson we must quickly absorb to mitigate the unfortunate race to their so-called El-dorado.

We caution the Japa exponent to be wary of internet syndicates who promised so much but delivered nothing. They only end up fleecing their unsuspecting clients who end up stranded abroad. There is a need for utmost discretion in considering any Japa move.


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