Nigerian Lives: Six Nigerians Who Haven’t Caught The Japa Bug

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Nigerian Lives: Six Nigerians Who Haven’t Caught The Japa Bug. 

Nigerians are leaving the country in droves. A lot of factors are behind this mass migration. Bad governance, harsh economic policies, low standard of living, and inflation are some of the factors driving Nigerians to other countries. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that there were about 1.7 million foreign migrants from Nigeria in 2020, a significant increase from 990,000 in 2010. In 2016, Canada granted permanent residency to roughly 4,400 people from Nigeria. In 2021, this number climbed to almost 15,000 people.

While there are millions of Nigerians leaving, in search of greener pastures and better living conditions, there are also those Nigerians who are not interested in leaving Nigeria in the near future. 

We asked six  Nigerians why they decided to stay put and here’s what they told us: 

Bayo, 27

Two days ago, I had final moments with a friend who was leaving for Holland. At that gathering, there were other friends who were also leaving soon. Most of my friends are leaving Nigeria before the year ends. While everyone was discussing their japa plans, It was I and another friend who was not interested in leaving Nigeria. I’m pro-Nigeria. I’m in a toxic relationship with Nigeria. Realistically, Nigeria is not in the best place in every sector but It’s not pushing me to leave at all. I know if I relocate, I will find a good job, and I will be comfortable but if everyone leaves, who will be here to patronize our mechanics and hold our politicians accountable? I want to see Nigeria work, so my children can enjoy Nigeria, but when everyone leaves, who will be here? 

Joey, 23

I would love to leave Nigeria, but I’m incredibly afraid of starting over in a new country. I have lived in Nigeria all my life, and the fear of starting over in a different country has pushed me back from relocating. I’m frightened of beginning a new life where I have no acquaintances. I have friends here, hence emigrating to a new country where I don’t know anyone scares me a lot. To put it simply, I’m sick of being here but I’m afraid to leave.

Feyi, 26

So, I planned to live my best life outside of Nigeria after my bachelor’s degree, however, I met the love of my life two years after graduation while I was preparing to japa, and that’s how my japa plans fell through. My husband is an IJGB, and he wasn’t really interested in moving back since he has lived in Norway for most of his life. I shared my relocation plans with him, and he didn’t agree to a relocation but we reached a compromise of vacation two times a year,  we also decided that our children would be born abroad. I’m no longer preparing to emigrate, left for me, I would have but love and God had different plans for us.

Chidi, 30

If I wanted to leave Nigeria, 2020 would have been the year. EndSars shattered me. A friend I protested with was killed at the Lekki Toll gate on the night of the shooting. I mourned him for more than a month. I’m multifaceted, I’m into tech and a creative, and Nigeria has been my launchpad. I believe that if I had left in 2020, I wouldn’t have gotten to the level I am now. I think that the Nigerian environment propels you to success. I think the US, UK, Canada, and others have an environment that’s so relaxed that you don’t feel the urge to ‘hustle’. I have traveled to more than 15 countries since 2020. That’s my dream: exploring the world and returning to Nigeria to eat my Afang soup. 

Abdul, 33

I went to one of the best universities in Nigeria. During our final year, my colleagues were making relocation moves. Those who couldn’t afford to relocate scouted scholarship opportunities, but then there’s me who was not bothered at all. I upskilled in my tech career and found a job with a blockchain company in Switzerland. When I calculate all I make monthly, it’s around five million naira. That’s what I wanted for myself and I got it. I knew early enough that earning in dollars and living in Nigeria is the most profitable thing ever. You will be balling hard, and threatening Dangote’s throne. This is basically the reason I won’t leave Nigeria in the near future. I will relocate when I get married because I fear raising my children in this country. I want them to have what Nigeria didn’t give me. It goes beyond what money can buy. 

Zoe, 29

Last month, I and some friends were in Calabar. It was a surreal experience. Calabar is so beautiful. I don’t think there’s any state in Nigeria that comes close. We are already planning to visit Bauchi in December. This is just a peek into our plans. I would be japaing in the future, but presently it’s not in my plans because I haven’t explored Nigeria enough. I want to visit the length and breadth of Nigeria before I emigrate. I watch Tayo Aina’s videos on YouTube and  I want to have the Nigerian version of his experience. Nigeria is insanely beautiful with a lot of untapped tourist potential. If the government invests maybe a million dollars in tourism, we will be making 10x of it annually because places to visit and feel out of the world plenty gan.