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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Japa, the way I see it -Labour unionists

Some labour unionists on Saturday expressed different views about relocation, in large numbers, in recent times, of Nigerians, especially youths and professionals, in search of greener pastures abroad.

In interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, some of them said that there is nothing wrong with the trend referred to in local parlance as Japa.

However, others expressed worry that it is impacting negatively on Nigeria.

The unionists urged governments to provide security, job opportunities and improved condition of work as well as encourage entrepreneurship to retain more youths and professionals.

They cautioned Nigerians intending to relocate abroad to be certain of their economic survival to avoid frustration and identity crisis.

The General Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, said that relocating abroad for greener pastures had been a trend for long.

“In the past, people travelled abroad to seek better opportunities not found in their countries of origin.

‘’It is not new for people to travel abroad for business, work or personal engagements.

‘’However, they are leaving now because of the challenges they face, such as insecurity and lack of opportunities,’’ he told NAN.

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Okugbawa said that the way forward would be for Nigeria’s leadership to create an enabling environment for people to feel secure, work and earn a living, and be fulfilled.

‘’There is need for re-orientation about migration, and the government should fix the country’s infrastructure to encourage small scale businesses to thrive,” the unionist urged.

The Secretary-General of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Mr Aladetan Abiodun, told NAN that the ‘Japa’ trend presented opportunities as well as challenges.

According to Abiodun, while the trend opens doors to prospects abroad, it also necessitates a proactive approach to prevent loss of cultural identity.

‘’By promoting cultural awareness, leveraging technology, and encouraging educational initiatives, emigrants and their children can maintain a strong connection to Nigeria.

‘’Balancing the benefits of new environments with the preservation of Nigerian heritage is essential for fostering a well-rounded and culturally-rich diaspora community, ‘’ Abiodun said.

The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Lagos State Chapter, Mrs Funmi Sessi, said that there was nothing wrong with relocating abroad to seek a better life.

According to Sessi, the trend rather has some benefits for Nigeria.

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She said that many Nigerians who travelled abroad had been giving back to the country meaningfully and lifting their families and friends.

Sessi said that there was no need to worry about such Nigerians losing their cultural roots.

‘’Most Nigerians value family life; when they travel, they have extended family members they relate with back home.

“They still have connections to their roots; definitely they will not forget.

“Also, most Nigerians in the diaspora arrange social gatherings and activities that keep their roots intact.

‘’One way to ensure that Nigerians keep their roots is for them to educate and train their children in their culture; some Nigerians do that when they travel,” she said.

Sessi acknowledged that there could be challenges while residing abroad.

“It is not always rosy when people are abroad.

“With this in mind, people who travel should know that when the chips are down, their countries of origin are where they can fall back to,” she said. (NAN)

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