Japa: why are Nigerians leaving their country

Recently a Nigerian YouTuber Emdee Tiamiyu granted an interview with the BBC and said Nigerians only secure a student visa just to come to the UK but don’t necessarily need a degree. This interview triggered the UK government to place a visa ban on Nigerians and also stop students from bringing dependents to the UK.

This article will explain the region in Nigeria that is mostly travelling abroad either for greener pastures or for security reasons.
If you move around the streets of Nigeria, especially the streets of Lagos Nigeria, you will hear a popular slang amongst the Nigerian youth “Japa” which means flee or run away.

70% of the youth in the southern part of Nigeria want to leave the country because they feel uncomfortable with the lack of economic growth and security challenges that have befallen the country for decades.

Nigeria is structurally divided into two parts, the Northern and Southern Nigeria, however, the majority of the youth in the North do not travel out of the country except for the few elites and their children. These travelling groups of the northern region control the Nigerian government and the northern economy.

Another major reason why the northern youths are not travelling out of Nigeria is the lack of education. Most of the northern youth do not have a good education, especially those coming from the rural area. An average northern Nigerian youth is satisfied with selling oranges on the streets or mending shoes. They do this with satisfaction and settle for less. But in the right sense, if they had the same level of educational awareness as the youth in the south, they will also find their way out. Japa!

One thing good about the northern Nigerian youth who travels abroad is that they always come back even when they are in tier-one countries like the US and the UK they don’t go overseas to stay permanently.

Why are the southern Nigerian youth running away from the country?
The youth from the South are quite different from those in the North. They are more exposed educationally and have access to both local and Western media, where they see how good life outside Nigeria looks like.

They have seen how things turn out for their relatives who left the country most of them after leaving Nigeria were able to build a house for their parents and family at large.
The Nigerian government officials are also part of the reasons why the southern youth leave the country as they see government officials leaving the country daily and the majority of them leave Nigeria to stay abroad immediately after ending their tenure.

Poverty is also a major reason for Nigerians to leave the country. Even the less educated southern Nigerian youths are seen going through the Lybia and Morocco routes to get to Europe.


The Japa situation will never come to an end as millions of Nigerians are trying daily to leave the country. The only solution to this travel pandemic in the country is for the government to provide basic needs for the people. Especially jobs. Nigerians are hard-working people and will always want to stay back if their needs are met.

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