Sometimes, goodbye means forever.
Japa, the Nigerian word used to describe the phenomenon of relocating to another country usually for the purpose of seeking greener pastures, has become almost a national slang.
In the last year, several Nigerians abandoned whatever engagements they had in the country to seek better life abroad, and from the look of things, a lot of young Nigerians will join the exodus.
The down-spiraling naira, worsening insecurity, poor healthcare services, and the most recent unending fuel crises, among many others, are deemed tangible reasons to leave one’s fatherland. But japa is not without consequences.
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The japa experience is unique for different people. Some get the chance to migrate with their family while some have to first send a dove to test the waters.
In a Twitter thread, Nigerians shared some of the tacit truths about japa, including the cost of separation from loved ones.
@larmmy, a tweep, lamented the impact of the separation caused by japa on families. She said that she had only just reconnected with her sister after nine years of separation.
“We talk about ‘japa‘ a lot,” She wrote. “We don’t talk enough about how much impact it has on families. Siblings separated for life, spouses separated for years. Some may never see their parents again. I finally reconnected with my sister after 9 years. It’s crazy.”
Another Twitter user, OBlezzings, said she had to celebrate the festive period away from her family because they were outside the country.
“Three of my sisters japa and left me here during the festive period. All I got was their get-together pictures and videos with their families and my mother. I wasn’t in those pictures. It hurts because we were close, but I had to cover it up and act like I wasn’t affected.”
For Asa Mascot, her farewell was heart-wrenching when her brother left, but it was more agonising for his daughter who didn’t understand why her father had to leave without her.
“Watched my brother say bye to his family a few weeks ago and I cried like a baby. What broke my heart was his daughter’s confused look when her dad wouldn’t take her with him. She tried to run after him but her tiny legs couldn’t keep up. It is well,” she wrote.
Ayo Iziegbe, another tweep, said after six months in a foreign country, he got news that his father passed on and he couldn’t even pay his last respect because he was away from home.
“I left home to make my parents proud & give dem what dey couldn’t afford themselves, only to receive a call 6 months into my journey my dad passed on. [I] couldn’t even come home 4 d burial, pray God keep my mom long to eat the fruit of her labour & see my children & those of my siblings,” he wrote.
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Also, Mr. Handsome was beyond the shores of the country when he lost his mother.
“I was away a year plus and my mom passed on. That was the worst day of my life cos I almost committed suicide abroad. Missed her so much although I came back home on the burial day but still didn’t meet up to see her lying in state. I still miss my mum till date,” he said.
Da Major said the japa malady had cost him his parents and he was yet to recover from the shock.
“… I lost my both parents from [the] japa syndrome. Till today, it’s still a nightmare for me. For real it’s not all that rosy to japa.”
READ ALSO: Rape, Death, Deportation… 5 Things to Expect If Travelling to Europe by Desert
Blacksatoshi Enterprises, another Twitter user, has not seen her sibling in 22 years, while Amyynwaa has not seen his parents in four years.
“When my parents moved,” said Amyynwaa, “I was left alone in Nigeria for four years. Even though we are closer, I can’t see them still. May God keep them for me o.”
The Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) lacks accurate statistics on the number of Nigerians who have left the country so far.
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