Nigeria’s economic state has resulted in the increased migration of people from the country, especially the youth. This search for greener pastures outside Nigeria has earned the moniker Japa. Though everyone wants a good life, the migration of bright minds out of the country has called for a big concern which raises questions about the future of Nigeria.
To this growing concern, the federal government is searching for ways to cure the Japa syndrome that has besieged the country. As unemployment is one of the contributing factors, the government, through the office of the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, made it known that things are being put in place to ensure that Nigerians are employed.
This was disclosed by Henry Ikoh, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, during the courtesy visit of the Secretary-General of the Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO), Ms Deemah Yahya, in Abuja.
He said the government plans to change the unemployment narrative by leveraging industrialisation and collaborating with the DCO in the area of human capital development was the government’s plan to reverse the trend.
Henry Ikoh said, “The synergy is what we require, capacity building is key, and technology transfer is what Nigeria and Africa need at the moment so that the world can be a global village. We need to collaborate in all areas to ensure harmony.
If we collaborate and synergise in human capital development, it would guarantee industrialisation. When people are gainfully employed and moved out from poverty, then Africans and Nigerians will not be struggling to travel abroad because everything is here.
We have all the raw materials; we require digitalisation to cross-fertilise ideas, train and retrain our people, and then things would be better.”
The Japa syndrome in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the Japa syndrome has unconsciously instilled itself into the minds of many. This increased the number of people who emigrated from the country in 2021. According to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), passports issuance surged by 38% in 2021 due to people searching for alternatives to relocate from the country.
In the same year, NIS issued 1,041,537 standard passports, 2,811 official passports, 895 diplomatic passports, 14,214 ETCs and 150 refugee passports. The immigration service issued 2,081 and 2,853 passports every 24 hours in 2020 and 2021.
Two countries Nigerians mostly relocated to was the United Kingdom and Canada. According to the U.K. immigration report in 2019, Nigeria came second in the number of visas approved for the skilled worker category with 13,609 (14%). In the same year, the Canadian immigration report said 12,595 Nigerians relocated to Canada. This saw the permanent residency by Nigerians rise by 214.9% (15,595) in 2019 compared to 4000 in 2015.
According to the report by the U.K Home Office, Nigeria had the highest number of migrants to the United Kingdom (U.K.) by the end of June 2022. This makes it the third-largest nationality group in the country. It was due to the increase in approved Sponsored Study grants. Compared to 2019, it increased by 57,545 (686 %) to a new record of 65,929 migrants.