Olusegun Runsewe, the director-general of the National Council for Arts and Culture, has described ‘japa’ as “an unfortunate thing” and claimed that many Nigerians are begging to return home.
Mr Runsewe stated on Thursday in Abuja that the trend had led to the disintegration of families and many marriages. According to him, there is a need for those who desire to migrate to other countries to plan well to avoid becoming a nuisance.
“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,” stated Mr Runsewe. “They are all coming back home. Yes, I will give you an analysis of it now. The japa syndrome is an unfortunate thing. It started with doctors. Not too long ago, we see lecturers. Now bankers have joined.”
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The NCAC director-general added, “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 now in Nigeria, multiply it by N748. If you have £5,000 in London today, you are going to pay tax, electricity, gas, and insurance, don’t forget that when you are abroad, everything will have to be insured.”
He pointed out that “many of their relatives and friends do not tell them the reality” but “take pictures in beautiful places to deceive, they sell their houses, cartels and get there to realise that it’s not always rosy.”
Mr Runsewe also claimed that 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 begging to come back home, most people are not aware of this, they are just saying ‘I want to leave’,” said the government official.