IBADAN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said despite the number of Nigerians aiming to “japa” from the country, there is also a significant number returning to the country.
Dabiri-Erewa, who spoke at a press briefing at the state house in Abuja on Thursday, 25 August, said a number of persons are returning to Nigeria to invest in the agricultural and healthcare sector.
“We speak of “japa” as a one-way phenomenon, but we also have Nigerians constantly returning home. There are examples of Nigerians returning home, occasionally or permanently, to do interesting things, in agriculture, healthcare, etc.
The hospital where the VP was recently treated was set up by diaspora doctors. I’m not saying Nigeria’s not a challenging environment, but we must also acknowledge those who are coming back home to do impactful things,” she said.
Dabiri-Erewa said the commission is making an effort to see that Nigerians in the diaspora are allowed to vote.
“The national assembly is still not interested in diaspora voting, but we will not relent and continue to engage with them. Because I believe everyone should know that the diaspora should be able to vote. So we hope that we continue to engage with the parliament. There’s a big deal about diaspora voting,” she said.
“Japa” is Yoruba for “to run, flee, or escape.”
The word takes firm root in the aspiration that young Nigerians have to leave the country for good.
While migration is a natural human experience, an array of circumstances illustrate reasons for relocation.
In Nigeria, it’s a serious endeavor, often triggered by economic hardship.
In recent years, the pursuit for a better quality of life overseas has taken on an anxious, nerve-tingling quality.
It’s both a disavowal of patriotism and a new cultural personality.