Stranded Nigerians in Canada: When ‘Japa’ Leads to ‘Sapa’

The ‘japa‘ (Nigerian slang for emigration) syndrome continues to be a hot topic for conversation, as many young Nigerians consistently risk their lives in the quest to escape ‘sapa’, a Nigerian slang that means ‘extreme poverty’.

The country’s government said in November 2023 that it had received reports of at least 4,777 stranded Nigerians abroad between February and October 2023.

The majority of stories of emigration rarely have a good ending. After their failed attempt at migrating overseas, many have had cause to bite their fingers regretfully.

They find themselves in a situation of being between the devil and a vast, blue sea. For these nationals, living overseas is equivalent to being sentenced to death, and going home is not an option.

The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, recently urged Nigerians travelling abroad to have proper documentation to avoid irregularities and unpleasant consequences.

This was after she visited some stranded Nigerians who violated Canada’s immigration laws.

Dabiri-Erewa issued a warning to Nigerians who intend to enter Canada either illegally or in search of refuge to back off because the ‘situation is getting tougher in many countries’.

Nigerian migrants facing stranded situations often encounter a myriad of difficulties, including legal, economic, and social challenges.

In Canada and parts of Europe, where immigration policies are complex, Nigerians may find themselves stuck due to issues such as expired visas, a lack of proper documentation, or changes in immigration regulations.

These challenges can lead to a state of limbo, where individuals may be unable to work legally, access essential services, or return to their home countries.

Dangers of illegal migration

Nigerians must understand that one of the primary dangers of illegal migration is their vulnerability to economic exploitation.

Desperate for employment and financial stability, migrants may fall prey to unscrupulous agents and human traffickers promising lucrative opportunities abroad.

In reality, many end up in exploitative working conditions, subjected to low wages, long hours, and often hazardous environments. The dream of economic prosperity transforms into a nightmare of exploitation.

Preparatory measures

Migrating abroad can be a significant life change; hence, it is important to be well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that come with it.

Nigerians must do proper research on the specific country they plan to move to, as each country has its own rules and regulations regarding immigration, work permits, and residency.

They must also ensure that they understand and fulfill all legal requirements for immigration. This may include obtaining the necessary visas, permits, and documentation.

Also, being aware of the specific conditions and limitations of one’s visa, such as whether it allows for work or study, is vital.

Saving enough money to cover initial expenses, including accommodation, food, and transportation, is another important thing to do because it may take some time to secure employment.

Therefore, young Nigerians must take solid preparatory measures to avoid japaing into sapa.

Photo source: Naijaloaded


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