We know everyone’s planning to japa, but why are they really leaving? Is there a sudden urge to go back to school? Are they fed up with the country? Or they always had the plan to leave? 

We asked some Nigerians, and here’s what they considered before leaving.

For every move you make, the economy is ready to push back


You get to a point where you realise you should be somewhere else. But for every move you make, the economy finds a way to push you back. It’s almost like it’s the Nigerian factor. 

And then there are the people as well. Nobody wants to help except they know there’s something in it for them. So I decided to just go for my master’s degree because I’ve saved enough to afford it. 

I’ve only been here for a week, but I can tell that things work here, and I’m sure if I have a good project, I’ll see people interested in assisting. 

Nigeria is not working, and we know it


Before I left, I worked in a bank as a contract staff. I could be there for five years without any measurable growth. The system is not working — at least not in the banking industry. 

I also wanted to pave the way for my family members, and this is the only way I know how. If things get better, I’m open to returning because there’s no place like home. But now, I’m working my butt off, earning pounds and looking for ways to bring more family members. 

The promise of a life devoid of stress


You get tired of things not working, the odds being against you every time. It’s more of the need to leave Nigeria than the need to go to Canada or the United Kingdom. Anywhere just feels seemingly better. 

The bad roads, constant traffic congestion, the power situation, and everything about Nigeria were unbearable. It’s tougher to make certain things happen for yourself in Nigeria than elsewhere.

I just wanted a life devoid of stress. There’s still stress here, tbh. But at least if you pay for something, you get the quality you deserve.  

One day you realise that your life isn’t worth much in Nigeria


I got married in 2020, and my husband was already staying in Canada. But after the October 20, 2020 incident, I didn’t feel safe, so I had to leave the country. I initially wanted to leave to give my kids a better life, but after that, I had to leave so that I could be alive to even have kids. 

My kids deserve to have options


I’ve always said I wanted to have my kids abroad so they wouldn’t be restricted to just a green passport. And right now, I’m more determined. I haven’t japa yet, but I’m constantly on a search for the countries with the strongest passports cause we know this Nigerian one is nearly useless.

An environment for growth 


I was working professionally as a social media manager for over four years, but it was getting boring. I wanted a new career path. So I decided to do my master’s degree. Between the ASUU strike in federal universities and the strictness of private ones, I decided to travel. 

I would get access to a seamless educational process, and if I ever came back to Nigeria, I’d be of more value with my degree. 

Plus, I wanted to meet the queen. Too bad she died a few weeks after I got here. Jk.

At least I’d be paid the equivalent of the hours I worked


Even if it’s not “more” money because you still have bills and expenses to pay, at least this time, it’s equivalent to the hours you work. And you don’t have to struggle for something as basic as light because the system actually works!

*Some names have been changed for anonymity, and answers slightly edited for clarity.

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