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Japa Chronicles Pt. 2

For this limited series, Bside will be looking to speak to a number of young Nigerians who have recently relocated out of the country, discussing why they relocated, what the process was like and more.

The year 2020 was a tumultuous time for the world — COVI9 19 brought nearly everything and everyone to a halt — but more so for young Nigerians. While enduring the many troubles that accompanied the pandemic, many young citizens witnessed, either in the flesh or through a muzzy Instagram live, a shocking bloodletting from the people that were supposed to protect them from danger. On October 20, 2020, the Lekki Massacre happened: the Nigerian Army indiscriminately opened fire on peaceful protesters, killing and injuring several people. It was a harrowing experience, a seismic calamity but also a rude awakening. The Lekki Massacre erased or debilitated the waning patriotism that many young Nigerians already had. This was the last straw that broke many camels’ backs. Along with the constant economic woes that we faced, safety was also now a luxury.

The disparaging presidential speech that followed added salt to injury. It was like the country was indirectly forcing out its own citizens. Since the saddening occurrence, in search of greener pastures, a saner clime and to escape the harsh realities of the country, more and more Nigerians are migrating to different parts of the world. To get a more in-depth and personal view as to why many Nigerians are leaving the country, Bside would be conducting a series of interviews with Nigerians who have recently relocated abroad. These interviews will touch on their reasons for leaving, when they made the decisions versus when their applications were eventually granted. They will also shed some insight to the rigorous process of relocating.

Our second interviewee is Iyanu, 28, a student who currently resides in Aberdeen. He shares with us his process of relocating, his new reality in Aberdeen and more.

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity purposes

Before we get into how and why you relocated, the country you choose to relocate to is quite interesting, would you agree?

Yes, i know it won’t be many people’s first choice

Why Aberdeen?

I: Honestly, I was tired of hearing about the ‘big 3’: the UK, US and Canada. All the agents I reached out to concerning relocation would not stop talking about these places even after I expressed that I would be comfortable living elsewhere. For a while I even considered Germany, so I took some Dutch classes and I quickly realized it wasn’t a walk in the park. I also considered Sweden. I knew that the process of getting an EU visa would be rigorous, so all the countries were really an option to me.

Tell us about the process?

I did not mind going back to academia, so I started by looking at different universities to apply to for Masters. I decided to seek out a job in technology, something that I felt would go a long way. First, I got a diploma from Pan Atlantic University to broaden my chances of getting into the school. I also started the visa application long before the acceptance. I guess you could say I had a hunch about things. In reality, I was just very lucky. Things seemed to fall into place. After I got into the University, I focused on my visa applications. I was determined not to get anything past me so I carried out so much research. I paid agents to assist me. I even put out questions on public forums for people who had experience with the visa to guide me. In the end, it all paid off. I got the visa and came to Aberdeen less than a month after everything had been approved.

What did settling in look like for you?

For a long time, I was not happy. I just felt cold (no pun intended). My city’s climate is so different from the climate in Lagos. And the people here have different energy too. Everyone seems so lackadaisical about things. Now, I have come to realize that that is what happens when your country is actually working and you have access to so much just as a quirk of your passport. You are not stressed or fazed by much. I had to get used to their attitudes, the money and obviously, the high exchange rate. Finding proof of funds during the visa process and simply buying basic necessities when I arrived was so difficult. To be honest, I do not think I have done anything harder than relocating in my life. Even now I am on the verge of completing my masters and have a full-time job, I still feel like an outsider sometimes. I still feel like I do not belong here.

Would you say relocating was worth it? And what advice do you have for people who also want to relocate?

One of my biggest joys has been sending money home. That alone makes it a small price to pay for the difficulties I might be facing. Knowing that my sibling is well taken care of and will experience life with less of the hardships I have now. Our father is not in our lives, so I have always felt pressure to take on that role.

I would advise people who are planning to relocate to do a lot of research, especially independently. Do not let agents convince you there is only one route out. Also get used to being around little to no friends. It is a reality especially if you have migrated to a very white country. This is not to say that it would be everyone’s experience, some people are very good at socializing, making new friends. However, if you are an introvert, like I am, you will definitely find it hard to make new friends. But as I said, all of that is a small price to pay for me.

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