British Nigerian

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British Nigerian
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Total population
Nigerian-born residents
88,378 (2001 Census)
154,000 (2009 ONS estimate)
Regions with significant populations
Throughout the United Kingdom
In particular Greater London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff, Sheffield
English (British, Nigerian), Igbo, Yoruba, Edo
Nigerian languages
Christianity, Islam (Sunni), traditional faiths

British Nigerian is a term sometimes used to describe British people of Nigerian descent[1][2] or Nigerian people of British descent. Many Nigerians and their British-born descendents in Britain live in South London. They are one of the larger immigrant groups in the country.[3]


Nigerians have formed long-established communities in London, Liverpool and other industrial cities. The earliest known Nigerian presence in London occurred over 200 years ago as a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade. Olaudah Equiano, born in what is now Nigeria, was involved in the debate that occurred in Britain over the abolition of the slave trade.[4]

Prior to Nigeria's independence from Britain, gained in 1960, many Nigerians studied in the UK along with other countries such as France and the United States, with the majority returning to Nigeria upon completion of their studies.[5][6] In the 1960s, civil and political unrest in Nigeria contributed to many refugees migrating to Britain, along with skilled workers.[4] Nigerians migrated in larger numbers in the 1980s, following the collapse of the petroleum boom.[5] This wave of migration has been more permanent than the pre-independence wave of temporary migration.[5] Asylum applications from Nigerians peaked in 1995, when the repression associated with the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha was at its height.[5]


Location Nigerian-born population
East Midlands 1,382
East of England 3,160
London 68,910
North East England 552
North West England 2,978
Scotland 1,253
South East England 4,719
South West England 1,431
Wales 588
West Midlands 1,759
Yorkshire and the Humber 1,399

The 2001 UK Census recorded 88,378 Nigerian-born people resident in the UK.[8] More recent estimates by the Office for National Statistics put the figure at 174,000 in 2011.[9] Community leaders believe the growing population is over 500,000 in 2012.[citation needed]

A Council of Europe report gives a figure of 100,000 Nigerians in the UK but suggests that this is likely to be an underestimate since it does not include irregular migrants or children born outside of Nigeria. Similarly Nigerians with citizenship of another EU member state who then relocated to the UK are not necessarily included in this estimate. The report suggests to multiply the figure by between 3 and 8 to reflect the size of the Nigerian community in the UK.[10]


British Nigerian pupils are one of the most successful groups academically, with 56% of black Nigerian pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to C in 2005, compared to 55% of White British children in 2005 and 42% of black Caribbean pupils.[11]

This figure had climbed to 78% of Nigerian pupils attaining 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to C in 2013 .[12]

Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research, based on Labour Force Survey data from 2005/06, indicated that, on average, Nigerian-born residents in the UK left full-time education at the age of 21, compared to 17.5 for the UK-born population.[13] Of the 25 country-of-birth groups included in the study, only French-born UK residents left full-time education at a higher average age.[13]

According to the Higher Education System Agency, 15,090 Nigerian students were admitted to universities in the United Kingdom in the 2009/2010 academic year. By 2015, the number of Nigerian pupils enrolled in British tertiary institutions is projected to increase to around 30,000.[14]

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Nigerian pupils are among best performing student groups in the United Kingdom.[15] The Camden Education Commission reported that they were among several ethnic minority populations whose average educational attainment rose significantly in 2011, with more than 50% earning five or more good GCSEs, including in Mathematics and English.[16] As of 2013, the IPPR noted that Nigerians were among nine immigrant groups that were above average academically.[15] Euromonitor International for the British Council suggests that this high academic achievement by Nigerian students is mainly due to the fact that most of the pupils already matriculated in the English language in their home country. Additionally, many of them hail from the wealthier segments of Nigerian society, which can afford to pursue studies abroad.[14]


The UK's largest concentration of Nigerians is found in the capital city, London. Peckham is now home to the largest overseas Nigerian community in the UK, with 7 per cent of the population of the Peckham census tract at the time of the 2001 Census having been born in Nigeria.[7] Many of the local establishments are Yoruba owned.[17] Nigerian churches and mosques can be found in the area. As immigrants have become assimilated, English has increasingly become the predominant language of the local Nigerian British population. The Yoruba language is declining in use in the Peckham area despite the growing Nigerian population.[3] Outside London and South East England, the largest Nigerian-born communities are found in the East of England and the North West.[7]


Below is a table showing how many Nigerians were granted British citizenship and the right of abode in the period 1998 to 2008.

Persons granted citizenship
1998 3,550[18]
1999 3,481[19]
2000 5,594[20]
2001 6,290[21]
2002 6,480[22]
2003 6,300[23]
2004 6,280[24]
2005 6,615[25]
2006 5,875[26]
2007 6,030[27]
2008 4,530[28]
2009 6,955[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Temko, Ned (2006-05-14). "'Think Jamaica is bad? Try Nigeria...': How Diane Abbott enraged a community". The Observer (London). p. 21. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  2. ^ Davies, Christie (2006-12-12). "No apology for slavery – no deep sorrow: Christie Davies explains why apologies for centuries-old wrongs are not in order". Social Affairs Unit. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  3. ^ a b White, Robin (2005-01-25). "Little Lagos in south London". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  4. ^ a b "Nigerian London". BBC London. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d Change Institute (April 2009). "The Nigerian Muslim Community in England: Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities". London: Communities and Local Government. pp. 23–24. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  6. ^ Migration Policy Institute (June 2010). "Nigeria: Multiple Forms of Mobility in Africa's Demographic Giant". Washington: Migration Information Source. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ a b c "Born abroad: Nigeria". BBC News. 2005-09-07. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  8. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  9. ^ "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)". Office for National Statistics. September 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Immigration from sub-Saharan Africa". Report, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 11526. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  11. ^ Ethnicity and Education: The Evidence on Minority Ethnic Pupils aged 5–16 The Department for Education and Skills 2006
  12. ^ Britain's Somalis: The road is long Britain Ethnic Minorities Economist Print Edition Aug 2013
  13. ^ a b "Britain's Immigrants: An economic profile". Institute for Public Policy Research. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "The Benefits of the English Language for Individuals and Societies: Quantitative Indicators from Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Pakistan". Euromonitor International for the British Council. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "White British children outperformed by ethnic minority pupils, says thinktank". The Guardian. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Camden Education Commission: Final report". Camden Education Commission. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "London's Little Lagos". The African Courier. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  18. ^ Chilton, Tony; Kilsby, Peter (1999-04-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 1998". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  19. ^ Kilsby, Peter; McGregor, Rod (2000-06-08). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 1999". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  20. ^ Dudley, Jill; Harvey, Paul (2001-05-31). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2000". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  21. ^ Dudley, Jill; Hesketh, Krystina (2002-06-27). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2001". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  22. ^ Dudley, Jill; Woollacott, Simon (2003-08-28). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2002". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  23. ^ Dudley, Jill; Woollacott, Simon (2004-05-24). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2003". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  24. ^ Woollacott, Simon (2005-05-17). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2004". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  25. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2006-05-23). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2005". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  26. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2006-05-23). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2006". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  27. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2008-05-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2007". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  28. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2008-05-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2008". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  29. ^ Danzelman, Philip (2010-05-27). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2009". Home Office. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 

External links[edit]

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