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Japa another form of slavery, PFN President, Aboyeji lament

By Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
31 October 2022   |   4:04 am
The President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale Oke; immediate past Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University and Bishop of Theologian of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Prof. Dapo Asaju; co-founder of Flutterwave...

National President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale Oke

The President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale Oke; immediate past Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University and Bishop of Theologian of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Prof. Dapo Asaju; former co-founder of Flutterwave, Mr. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji among others have described the trending brain drain, popularly called Japa phenomenon as modern-day slavery, which is being carried out to make use of the productive Nigerian workforce to support the aging population of the developed countries.

They called on the government to take steps to address issues leading young Nigerians to leave the country in search of greener pastures.

They spoke at the weekend during the Dorcas Oke Hope Alive Initiative (DOHAL) Foundation lecture held at Precious Cornerstone University, PCU, Ibadan. Bishop and Mrs Wale Oke are founders of the foundation.

Oke said to curb the brain drain, the government must provide an enabling environment and opportunities for the youth.

“This programme is one of the things we can do to curb the Japa phenomenon and let our people know that they can sit in Nigeria and earn money in hundreds of thousands of dollars like Inioluwa Aboyeji, rather than go outside the country to become second-class citizens and slaves in other countries.”

“The countries promoting this phenomenon are not doing it in our own interest. It is in their interest. Their population is ageing and they don’t have the working population to support the ageing population. They are bringing in our people to fill that gap. It is another slave trade.”

Asaju, on his part, urged the government to address insecurity, create opportunities for youths and provide a conducive working environment and motivation for workers to curb the trend. The professor described the trend as the worst and third form of slavery and colonialism.

‘’It is slavery. Slavery has come in three ways. First one was when they carried us like commodities. The second one was when they came to colonize us. This one is the worst. After developing ourselves we sell ourselves to go and do pitiable jobs for a pittance.”

Aboyeji, who spoke on the theme: ‘The Entrepreneurship and the Challenges of the African Child,’ said the future rests on youth’s ability to become an entrepreneur in a digital economy.

He pointed out that Nigeria needed to think smartly to thwart the intention of the countries taking the best brains from the country.

The young digital aficionado said: ‘’The digital economy is the future of the African child. We need to help our young people to earn foreign exchange. We need to be more intentional, collaborate and invest in human capital. It involves everybody.

‘’They need the talent to participate in the digital economy. We have a lot of young people. I think the most important thing for us to have is talent.

“The biggest part of the work is making sure that the young person has digital skills to participate in the digital economy. It is important to us because we have a lot of young people.

‘’The biggest challenge that we currently have is that the talented young people are being grappled by other developed countries to join their productive workforce to subsidize their social security scheme and old people.

‘’So, it is important we produce more talented people who can contribute to the global economy via the digital economy and make sure that digital skill is incorporated into our curriculum.

‘’I don’t think we should focus on stopping it but we should focus on filling the gap. That means we have to start at the foundation level in order to grow young people who can enter the digital economy.

‘’There is a need for more smart thinking about what Nigeria can get from ‘Japa’ especially given the intention of these countries and an understanding of how much they need our talent.

‘’It is a shame that we have many Nigerian engineers, doctors, nurses and others in the US, Canada and so on and we have an educational system that has been left moribund for nine months. The solution is to leverage it and fill gaps’’.