The Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, have urged Nigerians, especially the youths, against emigration, now known as ‘japa’.
Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), with the theme ‘Restoration of Hope in Nigeria’, they noted that despite the several challenges facing the country, Nigerians should not lose hope in the country or resort to emigration.
Okoh reassured Nigerians of hope and opportunities in the country as he cautioned against reckless emigration that exposes them to more danger and inhumane treatment than what they were running from.
He admitted that from insecurity to violence, political tension and economic hardship, Nigeria was facing many challenges that had shaken its unity and stability, but he urged those intending to relocate abroad to do adequate research and ask relevant questions to avoid being trapped.
He added, “Nigerians have endured the strife and extreme difficulties. Unfortunately, those who could not bear the situation migrated to other nations in search of greener pastures, commonly known as ‘japa syndrome’.
“The solution is not in running away to other countries but in finding ways to restore hope of the citizens in our dear country. Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources more than many nations of the world, but we need to get it right on the management of these resources for the good of all.”
Also, the Sultan said he was in support of the CAN president’s efforts to discourage emigration. He called on Nigerians to pray for the government so that leaders could make good decisions and formulate the right policies that would bring about peace and development. He cautioned against deliberate efforts that could pull down the system.
He also admitted that there were several challenges in Nigeria but that other countries were not immune to them.
“But that is not enough reason to lose hope in the country and pull down its leadership,” he stated. “It’s important that we know that Nigeria is not as bad as people are painting it. Visit other countries and you see the good in Nigeria.
“We have problems in Nigeria, no doubt. But we are far better than several other countries. So, we have to be patriotic, pray and support our leaders. Let’s not lose hope in Nigeria no matter the challenge. God is not sleeping on matters that concern Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, also urged Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Government, saying President Bola Tinubu was working on several ways to address poverty and hunger in the country.
He said the focus of the Tinubu administration was to rekindle hope in Nigerians, hence the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda which was the mantra of his election campaign.
“Nigerians should trust that President Tinubu will do all it takes to address the challenges of hunger and poverty. With huge human and natural resources deposits in Nigeria, our people have no reason to live in penury,” Akume said.
The SGF said the President would not weaponise religion and ethnicity, as evident in the appointments made so far.
He added, “We are laying a foundation that will put smiles on the faces of the citizens. This is why we call for renewed hope. So, let us live in unity to a point that tongue and tribe may differ but in unity we must stand. We believe in consultation with all levels and societal class to achieve development in terms of security, human development and peaceful co-existence.”