Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, has cautioned Nigerians to be careful of joining the ‘japa’ (run, flee or escape’) in search of better life, saying many who did are struggling to return.
Runsewe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the trend had led to the disintegration of families and many marriages collapsing.
According to him, there is the need for those who desire to migrate to other countries to plan well, so as to avoid becoming a nuisance in these countries.
He said ‘japa syndrome’ should not be celebrated at all, saying many people who had done so were regretful and would not tell their families the truth.
Runsewe said Nigeria would be great again, calling on everyone to keep hope alive and believe that better days are ahead.
“Japa is an unfortunate thing that is not in our culture, if you recollect in the 90s, Andrew checking out, that is the japa we are having today. When Andrew was checking out, it was for a different reason, but there is a new thing to it now.
“They are all coming back home, yes, I will give you an analysis to it now. The japa syndrome is an unfortunate thing, it started with doctors, not too long ago, we see Lecturers, now bankers have joined.
“A lot of them sold their houses, properties to ‘japa’, only for them to get to their destinations and realise that the japa is not in their interest.
“If you have 5,000 dollars now in Nigeria, multiply it by 748 Naira, if you have 5000 pounds in London today, you are going to pay tax, electricity, gas, insurance, don’t forget that when you abroad everything will have to be insured.
“Many of their relatives and friends do not tell them the reality. They take pictures in beautiful places to deceive. They sell their houses, cars and forgetting to realise that it’s not always rosy.
“The rate at which you can save money in Nigeria is about 80 per cent, the rate at which you can save money abroad is less than 10 per cent, for every good you eat over there, cars driven, you pay tax, a lot of people misunderstood Japa, thinking it’s a dollar to a dollar.
“Up till this morning, many people in London, Canada, Germany are begging to come back home, most people are not aware of this, they are just saying ‘I want to leave”.
The director-general said although migration for the purpose of international education for children was good, parents usually became redundant and unfulfilled doing odd jobs to survive.
He cited examples of three bankers who left in 2022, writing back to their organisations about their regrets for leaving, saying no free money or lunch for anyone abroad.
He noted that many Nigerians were doing well and celebrated abroad, but that should not be a yardstick for everyone to celebrate relocating without plans and purpose.
Runsewe however urged all Nigerians to be patient with the country, saying a rethink would go a long way towards addressing this menace of indiscriminate and unplanned migrations.
He cautioned Nigerians against blowing the country’s challenges out of proportion, saying it was capable of hampering the progress and development of the country.
In exploring the talents of young people, Runsewe urged governments at all levels to create an enabling environment that would support and showcase their creativity.
He said there ought to be deliberate efforts to skills acquisition, as it would go a long way to encourage job opportunities for social economic development of the country. (NAN)