The Nigerian House of Representatives rejected a proposal that sought to address the ongoing exodus of young Nigerians, particularly professionals who have distinguished themselves in many fields, departing the nation in order to get permanent residencies and a better life in other nations.
Philip Agbese, the representative for Benue State’s Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency, had submitted a motion on the floor, encouraging his colleagues to support and approve resolutions to stop what he called the “JAPA syndrome.”
It was supported by Rep. Dennis Idahosa of Edo State’s Ovia Federal Constituency, who also asked colleagues to back it.
The motion, proposed by Honorable Adams Ibrahim, highlighted the adverse effects of the mass exodus of highly skilled individuals, particularly the youth and medical professionals, on the country’s economy and social development.
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Honorable Ibrahim argued that Nigeria’s future would be jeopardized if the best and brightest continue to leave the country in search of better opportunities abroad.
However, after a heated debate, the motion was ultimately voted down by a majority of House members. Many representatives opposed the motion, citing concerns about restricting the freedom of Nigerian citizens and professionals to pursue their ambitions and take advantage of opportunities in other countries.
Rep. Sada Soli (Katsina State) objected to the proposal on the grounds that it violated residents’ constitutional rights to travel freely within and outside of the nation.
Some of the top locations for young Nigerians moving abroad are Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where they go in search of better education, work opportunities, and security, among other things.
Nigeria has recently seen an increase in the number of qualified people leaving the country for other nations. Many of these immigrants received their degrees from the heavily subsidized colleges in Nigeria. People who travel overseas in search of greener living bring their years of training and local expertise with them.
Tajudeen Abbas, the Speaker, pleaded with the Nigerian government to call a national summit with influential parties in order to “effectively address the syndrome.”
As the Japa debate continues, it remains to be seen what concrete measures the government and policymakers will take to address the underlying issues that contribute to the migration of Nigerian youths, doctors, and professionals. The need for comprehensive strategies to retain and harness the potential of the nation’s talented individuals is evident, as Nigeria strives for sustainable development and economic progress in the years to come.