Hinduism in Nigeria

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Hinduism spread to Nigeria mainly by immigration of Hindus from India and by way of Hare Krishna missionaries.

Sindhis were the first to arrive in Nigeria in the early part of the nineteenth century. Initially, they were primarily engaged in trading. But gradually, while still retaining their interest in trading, they also ventured into other fields like manufacturing and professional services. In succeeding decades, they made substantial investments in Nigeria, aggregating more than US$ 4 billion. In this way, they engaged themselves actively in the textiles sector, as well as in pharmaceuticals, fishing and various engineering industries.

Hindus of Indian origin in Nigeria[edit]

India and Nigeria were both part of the British Empire. Indians, both Muslims and Hindus alike, were brought to Great Britain's African colonies to work on the railroads. However, most of the Indian population, along with other foreigners from across the Empire, fled to either the United Kingdom, the United States, or back to their country of origin during the Nigerian Civil War.

The Government of Nigeria follows a liberal and non-discriminatory policy in the grant of citizenship to resident foreign nationals. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are as many as 8,000 Nigerians of Indian origin in the country. It is believed that there are as many as 500,000 Indians (both foreign and native-born) in Nigeria.

Starting from the 1970s, the Nigerian government and several private sector agencies began to hire a large number of Indian doctors, teachers, engineers and other professionals. Towards the end of the 1980s, many of the Indian experts decided to return to India when, with the substantial reduction in the country’s oil revenues, the country began to face severe economic problems. In spite of this, there are still as many as 217,000 Indian expatriates in Nigeria.

Altogether, including Nigerians of Indian origin and expatriates, there are 25,000 Hindus in Nigeria. Most are resident in Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria.[1]

Hindus of Nigerian origin[edit]

Some Nigerians have converted to Hinduism mainly due to efforts of ISKCON Missionaries.

ISKCON inaugurated the Vedic Welfare Complex in Apapa, Lagos, launched by the Hare Krishna group in Nigeria.[2]

Sai Organisation in Nigeria[edit]

Sri Sathya Sai Seva (Service) Organization was originally established in 1972 as a public charitable trust to carry out the mission of Sathya Sai Baba: providing drinking water, medicine and education to everyone free of charge.

A central meeting place named as Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre was first built in Ibadan and registered as a non-profit making spiritual organization in Nigeria. The site was leased for 99 years on April 19 with funding from various donors.

In Lagos, the Sai activities were started in a private house on Victoria Island.

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