By Gbenga Odunsi, Lagos
As academic activities resume in nations like the UK, USA, and Canada, a wave of mass resignations is anticipated to affect several companies in the country. This comes after numerous Nigerian youths applied to study or work abroad due to the unpredictability of the Nigerian economy and security.
‘Japa’, which is a Yoruba phrase for fleeing or running away, is the newest slang among Nigerians. That is the phrase being used by Nigerians, particularly the youth, to imply leaving their homeland in search of better opportunities elsewhere.
The US coined the term “The Great Resignation” to describe the almost 50 million people that stepped down from their jobs in the country in 2021. Since then, the trend has been seen in other nations across the globe, most notably in Europe, where recently, roughly half of all Dutch workers have said that they are likely to resign.
The Great Resignation has a different meaning in Nigeria. While lower-paid workers resigned mostly in the US, experienced professionals resigned in Nigeria, mainly in search of better working conditions, higher compensation, and a better life away from banditry and kidnapping, among other reasons. This has undoubtedly increased the pressure on companies to find ways to keep their best staff.
With numerous nations giving scholarships for bachelor programs and post-graduate studies, some of which come with a possibility of permanent residency, education is being considered the best option to secure visas for overseas quickly.
In light of the country’s ongoing social and economic problems, Nigerians are now using study visas as a means of “japaing” abroad. Nigeria’s public education system is currently in bad shape, as evidenced by the fact that university students have been forced to stay at home for roughly five months as a result of the Academic Staff Union of Universities strike action (ASUU).
In summary, the strategy for Nigerians seeking to relocate abroad is straightforward. The first is to identify a country, choose a school, apply for admission, get CAS, apply for a visa, resign, and exit the country.
Better future abroad
When interviewing these Nigerians migrating and those already overseas, most of them highlighted insecurity, poor pay, and lack of medical facilities as major reasons compelling them to leave and take up jobs and study overseas.
A chartered accountant who resigned from a Travels and Tour Company in Lagos and recently relocated to Canada with his family, says Nigeria is running a system that is not working. According to him, “the politicians know what to do, most of them schooled abroad, their children school abroad too, but they just like how nothing works in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian system helps politicians to keep their thugs, and they always have their way and get away with any crime.
“When you reach abroad, you will see a system that works. Public transportations are planned; they run on schedule, roads are better, light does not blink, houses higher than two-story buildings have an elevator.”
Another respondent, Rasak Omotola, who spoke with Information Nigeria at the TLS contact center in Victoria Island, Lagos, said he has been trying to leave the country for three years but kept meeting stumbling blocks.
He says he often travels on vacation to the United Kingdom once a year, especially during his annual work leave. “I have so much gotten used to their lifestyle that even my seven-figure salary cannot stop me from staying back in this country, he started.
“In the UK, education is free for children; private schools don’t thrive like they do in Nigeria. The water that runs in the house is drinkable.
“Your mind will be at rest, you won’t have to think of petrol for the generator. The government maintains the cities and roads, they cut the grass.
“My brother, you can easily succeed abroad, in fact, the government wants you to succeed so you can pay your taxes, unlike here in Nigeria where government creates stumbling blocks for business owners and citizens in general.”
According to some visa applicants, one reason they want to leave the country is that the system does not give them opportunities to succeed.
They claimed that, despite the dangers involved in relocating to an unknown country, there are better chances abroad.
Toyin Badejo, a postgraduate student, says he was already researching methods to leave Nigeria because there are few prospects for young people to succeed here. “What should I be doing as a young person here when there is no employment or power? It is better to leave this country to secure a better future abroad,” he says.
“The country is in disarray. The young people are in pain. What should I be doing as a young person here when there is no employment,” he concludes.
A civil servant at the Information ministry in Lagos, Toyosi Popoola, stated that despite the job security of public servants in the country, three of her colleagues resigned in July to relocate abroad. He blamed Nigerian leaders for the mass relocation of Nigerians to another country.
“If Nigerian leaders had been faithful in ruling this country, there wouldn’t be a reason for relocation. If a Dollar to Naira difference isn’t that much, Nigerians will have no reason to leave the country. Three of my colleagues resigned last month because they had secured a visa to move to the UK, When people with job security resign from their jobs to relocate abroad, then you should know Nigeria is no longer worth living”, she said.
Nigeria police increase character certificate from N5k to N40,000
Information Nigeria recalls that to obtain a Police Character Certificate (PCC), also known as a Police Clearance Certificate, Nigerians travelling overseas, especially students must now pay N40,000.
A police source confirmed this to newsmen on Tuesday, July 22, 2023. The original charge of N5,000 has been increased by 700% to the new fee.
The Nigeria Police issues the PCC as proof that a person has no criminal history, convictions, or attempts to avoid prosecution for offences committed in the nation.
The certificate is primarily sought by people, primarily young people, who are leaving the nation to further their education or find work.
However, investigation carried out by Information Nigeria reveals the actual fee charged for this certificate ranges from N65,000 to N100,000. Agents also charge an extra fee for appearance and non-appearance biometrics.
Implications of mass resignation
According to Akinya Tolulope, Human Resources personnel of a manufacturing company in Lagos, “staff resignations may cause problems for some firms, but they may also mean that low-level employees may be allowed to rise in the organization to enable the company fill vacant positions. In the coming months, businesses will be able to value their loyal staffs, which could result in pay increases for the workers. Nigerians who are unemployed may also have the chance of getting a job after mass resignations.”
Four employees of another major energy company in Lagos left their jobs in July, and according to a staff who prefers to remain anonymous, all of the staff who resigned are currently leaving Nigeria. According to him, the consequence of this is that some personnel have had to take on extra workload to fill in the gap, some departments have been unable to fill the vacant positions, and this in turn foot drags business. Some staff now have to work late into the night to b able to meet up with scheduled tasks.