‘Japa’: Reps reject motion to declare migration national emergency 

THE House of Representatives has rejected a motion to declare a state of emergency on migration of Nigerians to other countries.  

The lower legislative chamber voted against the bill when it came up for debate during the plenary on Thursday, June 15.

The motion, titled, ‘Need to Declare Emigration of Young Nigerians Abroad, aka, Japa syndrome, a National Emergency’, sought to address the growing rate of migration from the country.

Victor Agbese, the lawmaker who moved the motion, asked that the House declare the migration (japa) syndrome’ a national emergency and hold a national summit to address the matter. 

According to him, the increasing numbers of Nigerians relocating abroad threaten the country’s intellectual, social and economic well-being.

Agbese pointed out that reports by African Polling Institute indicated that 69 per cent of young Nigerians would opt to relocate abroad if they had the opportunity, while reports by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs reported that international emigration from Nigeria in 2020 totalled 1.7 million. 

Agbese asked that the situation be contained to prevent skilled personnel from leaving the country. 

“The eagerness to migrate to countries that offer hope seems to have a compelling influence. Those leaving Nigeria are not just the poor but the middle class who possess skills/workforce, including bankers, lecturers, health care practitioners, doctors, nurses, and trained manpower, all of whom were trained in Nigeria and emigrating at a time when their services are needed to build a strong and vibrant economy in Nigeria,” he said.

However, some House members kicked against the motion, calling it a violation of the Constitution. 

Speaking on the motion, Sada Soli, a lawmaker from Katsina, kicked against the move, saying it breached the fundamental human rights of the movement as contained in the Constitution.

“This motion, as it is, looks nationalistic but contravenes the provision of the Constitution. It is the liberty of a Nigerian. If he is qualified, he has all the grand rights to move anywhere he wants to source for a living,” he said.

The former deputy speaker, Idris Wase, also said any law or motion that conflicts with the provisions of the Constitution is null and void.



    However, most lawmakers rejected the motion when it was put to a voice vote.

    Meanwhile, a bill seeking to address the migration of medical professionals in Nigeria  passed second reading in the House of Representatives in April.

    The ICIR reported that the bill proposed that medical or dental practitioners be denied from being granted full licences until they have worked for a minimum of five years in the country.

    The bill also sought to halt the increasing numbers of medical doctors leaving Nigeria for greener pastures.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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