Japa Waves: Benefits and Challenges By James Sunday

It is no longer news that the word ‘Japa’ is the Nigerian slang or cliche used to describe brain drain or mass exodus or migration of individuals or groups abroad. There is nothing bad in Japa as long as it is done following due process. What this means is that the Japa person(s) must be Japa within the stipulated process using the right or approved documents for travel and entry into the Japa country.


For the purpose of emphasis, as long as you have the right documents valid for Japa, the onus lies on you to or not to Japa. There is no known law that forbids Japa, hence you have all it takes to leave to your intended country and you have valid travel documents acceptable to the host country, appropriate or commensurate visa for the country and purpose of visit, residence, reserved accommodation and evidence of financial capability or sufficiency that will not turn the Japa a public charge on arrival or in the course of sojourn.


What are the benefits of Japa?


It will sound strange coming from a professional in the field of Monitoring and Control of Japa.


Regular and Irregular Japa,

But since the law permits regular Japa, it means Japa is not a crime, when it is done in a regular manner. The benefits are enormous as well the disadvantages. The benefits to the country in the area of transfer of funds in the form of foreign remittances from Japa country to the country of origin in foreign denominations or currencies, transfer of acquired skills ,transfer of technology, better educated returnees, wealth of experience gathered abroad, new and better understanding of the outside world, better ways of doing things, better earnings and financial empowerment, access to good health care and social services opportunities, conducive environment for productive and reproductive development and advancement, additional experience due to enabling environment among others.


Disadvantages of Japa

We earlier said there are benefits which were enumerated above but there are side effects such as tendencies to want to Japa by whatever means, which is dangerous and has negative consequences. Irregular Japa is dangerous to both the country of origin and destination or host. The irregular japa may take the life or lives of those involved, especially through unapproved, un-recognised routes, especially on the high sea using boats to carry overload that may sink on transit, may be attacked by pirates or other sea related mishap on the sea.


There is also the tendency to be arrested by coast guards’ of countries on patrol and surveillance assignment to protect their territorial waters and borders from irregular influx. Other disadvantages of irregular Japa is sicknesses or sudden ailments both natural or sea related, sexual abuse for females, unwanted pregnancy, abortion on sea and other health related issues both for the male and female.


The females on irregular Japa are most disadvantaged or vulnerable due to gender and dispositions, the tendency to lose valuables such as money, travel documents and lives while on irregular Japa are issues of great concern. There is also lack of acceptance or refusal of admission by transit, host or destination countries, repatriation or deportation as the case may be, inhuman treatments by coast guards, pirates and other criminals while on transit, tendencies to be caught in crossfire between warring nations, getting missing due to a sinking boat, spoilt boat, capsized boat, attacked boat and so many other natural and human related catastrophes or mishap or journey of no return. If abducted or taken hostage by hostile groups on the waters and killed or maimed.


Japa therefore has two sides; the regular and irregular Japa. While the former may be widely supported, the latter is dangerous and not supported by any nation. To remedy mass Japa, the government must make the environment conducive for survival, development, advancement, peace, progress and good wellbeing of its citizens.


Citizens must be empowered financially, socially, educationally, economically as well politically without discrimination or segregation.


Citizens must be well informed about national issues to gain their confidence and support always. It will go a long way in curbing mass Japa (brain drain).


* James Sunday is the NIS, Comptroller, Rivers State Command .



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