MURIC Cautions Youth Against ‘Japa’ Syndrome

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cautioned Nigerian youths against mass exodus to other countries, now known as ‘japa’ syndrome.

According to the group, Nigeria is better in many ways than those countries which seem to attract the youth.

MURIC also warned Nigerians to stop condemning their country.

The advice was contained in a statement issued by the Director of the Islamic human rights organisation, Prof. Ishaq Akintola on Wednesday.

The statement read, “We are greatly disturbed by what is now called the ‘japa’ syndrome. This is a phenomenon that signifies mass exodus of skilled men and women, particularly youth, from Nigeria to Europe and America for greener pastures. This practice is harmful to our country. It is escapist and cowardly.

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“Often times running away from your country ends up taking you from the frying pan into the fire. For instance, life in Britain, France and America is no longer all milk and honey it used to be. Recent assessment of economic conditions have proved this.

“A carton of Indomie which cost £6.99 by January 2022 skyrocketed to £14.99 in late December. A carton of onion which was only £10.99 in January 2022 jumped up to £14.99 in December. Gas bill that was a mere £45 in September became £118 in December while electricity bill climbed from £90 to £176.

“The political and economic turmoil which Britain went through around the same period speaks volumes about worsening conditions in advanced countries. It found Britain having five prime ministers in six years. David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak turned No. 10 Downing Street to the revolving door of a supermarket.

“Liz Truss spent just six weeks in office and she is the fourth prime minister to resign since the Brexit vote in 2016. It is left to be seen whether or not 43 year old Rishi Sunak’s magic wand will save Britain.

“But the same Britain is now planning a law to criminalise strikes in sensitive sectors like rail transport, health and education. If this happens in Nigeria they will call it dictatorship. But it is happening right now in one of the advanced democracies of the world.

“Nigerians should stop thinking low of their country. We may not have everything we need, no country does. But we have moved a great deal away from our pre-independence position and we have not done too badly.

“From only one university (university of Ibadan) at independence in 1960 to 170 universities today. We had no single polytechnic at independence but today we have 105 polytechnics and 100 colleges of education.

“The British left us at independence with just 200 medical doctors in the whole country but today even the University of Lagos alone produces 250 medical doctors annually. Overall we produce 12,000 doctors per annum. We had no single indigenous pilot in 1960 but now we can even boast of female pilots flying planes for international airlines in other countries.

“Though we had only one television station and one radio station at independence, we now have more than 200 functional television stations. Our radio stations are countless as even university campuses now set up their own radio stations. Nigeria now has five satellites in space. We do renal surgery, organ transplant, car manufacturing, etc.

“Britain, America, France, etc, were not always as developed as you find them today. They had their Dark Age which was thousands of years ago. It was patriotic and hardworking individuals in their countries who started working on discoveries to improve living conditions.

“That was how Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented the first camera in 1816. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, brought the aeroplane on December 17, 1903. Carl Benz unveiled the first motor car on January 29, 1886. Richard Trevithick invented the train steam locomotive in Britain in 1804. The list is endless. Life was tough at the time. It was tough for those inventors too but they held on and worked harder. They did not leave their countries.

“Instead of emulating these hardworking and visionary men, many of our youth have adopted the easiest and, unknown to them, a dangerous way out. They prefer to join the ‘japa’ syndrome. It is not only cowardly, it is also escapist. The worst are those who embark on dangerous journeys across the desert and over the boiling Mediterranean Sea in rickety old boats.

“We cannot expect Nigeria to change by hating it or by abandoning it. We can also criticise our leaders but it must be with decorum. But to speak of Nigeria in a derogatory manner is unacceptable. It make us look like ingrates. Nobody can have two fatherlands in the  true sense of it. The task to make Nigeria great is a collective one, not just the sole responsibility of our leaders.

“Why do we always hang all faults at the doors of the leaders? Are we not the ones who break traffic rules? Must our leaders come to the bus stops to arrange us in queues? Is it our leaders who ride in buses and carelessly throw empty cans on the roads? Are they the ones who leave their lanes in traffic and cause total gridlock? Is it our leaders who hire mercenaries to impersonate our children in examination halls? Who is into Yahoo Yahoo business? Is it our leaders?

“We must stop condemning Nigeria. It is not radicalism. The ideal radicalism must be spiced with rationalism. Any radical group that takes irrational steps is misled. Such a group must retrace its steps.

“Don’t hate your country. You only ridicule yourself in the eyes of others when you do so. You are also part of Nigeria because you are a Nigerian. The question will still be asked, ‘What effort did you make to improve it?’ Instead of settling down and joining those who are building the country, you decide to migrate to another country which you consider better but which was built by the patriotic people of that country. Why couldn’t you also join the patriotic people of your country who are trying to build it?

“The citizens of those countries which Nigerian youth crave and to which they ‘japa’ laboured to build their countries. They made sacrifices and devoted time to build what their countries have become today. We must also labour to build our own country to the taste of our dream.

“We charge the few Nigerians who are presently doing their best to continue doing so. Silas Adekunle created the world’s first intelligent gaming robot. Fela Akinse invented the first modular shoes from plastic recycling wastes, Jessica Mathews invented a soccer ball that can be used as a portable power generator. Innoson company now makes cars.

“MURIC will continue to promote hardwork, patriotism, morality, probity, accountability and good governance. We will not desist from fighting corruption, negativity, greed and laziness.”

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