India–Nigeria relations

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Indo-Nigerian relations
Map indicating locations of India and Nigeria



The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have considerably expanded in recent years with both nations building strategic and commercial ties.

Oil-rich Nigeria stated recently that India has replaced the United States as its largest crude importer 20 -25 percent of India's domestic oil demand.India, however, now purchases some 30% of Nigeria's daily crude production which currently hovers around 2.5 million barrels[1] With bilateral oil trade valued at US$10 billion, Indian oil companies are also involved in oil drilling operations in Nigeria and have plans to set up refineries there.[2]


Both nations were colonised by the British Empire; India supported independence of African countries from colonial rule and established its diplomatic mission in 1958 - two years before Nigeria officially gained independence from British rule.[3][4][5][6] Since the restoration of democracy in 1998, Nigeria has joined India in becoming the largest democracies in their respective regions with diverse religious and ethnic populations. They possess diverse natural and economic resources and are the largest economies in their respective regions. Both are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, G-77 and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).[7]

Development of bilateral relations[edit]

After Nigeria's independence, both nations sought to develop strong relations. In 1962, the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made a state visit to Nigeria.[7] In 1999, the democratically-elected President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo made a state visit to India and was the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations. In 2007, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh became the first Indian leader to visit Nigeria in 45 years and addressed a joint session of the Parliament of Nigeria.[7][8]


Since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1998-99, its trade with India has increased substantially - climbing from USD 293.71 million in 1999-00 to USD 875 million in 2005-06.[4] As of 2007, the value of non-oil bilateral trade was estimated between USD 6-7.9 billion.[3][4] Exports to India accounted for USD 3.9 billion between April and September, 2006. India's exports to Nigeria were valued at USD $875 million in 2005/06.[4] Indian companies have invested heavily in Nigeria in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, plastics, engineering, information technology and communications. Indian companies have invested in the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Industry as well as Aladja Steel Complex in Delta.[4] Nigeria has actively encouraged Indian companies to invest and expand Nigeria's mining and development of coal, gold, iron ore, chrome ore, lead and other mineral resources.[9]

Oil trade[edit]

Nigeria is the largest African crude oil supplier to India — India imports 400,000 barrels per day from Nigeria valued at US$10 billion annually.[10] Additionally, major Indian oil companies regularly issue tender of Nigerian crude oil.[11]

Cultural relations[edit]

About 50,000 Nigerians live in India, while about 35,000 Indians reside in Nigeria.

Despite economic ties via the Commonwealth connection there are also ethnic tensions between two. As such in 2013, a killing in Goa, accused on an Indian, led to protests and a "law and order" problem there. Such xenophobic incitation were encouraged by politicians. Goa's Art and Culture Minister Dayanand Mandrekar called Nigerians a "cancer" and said their actions were detrimental to the tourism industry; though he retracted the statement and apologised. After the riots, Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ordered police to find and expel Nigerians living illegally in Goa and Goan MLA Shantaram Naik said: "Nigerians misuse education schemes, violate the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), indulge in the drug trade and yet try to boss over Goans, which no civilised society would tolerate." Some signs read "Say No to Nigerians" and others were said to have resolved not to rent out apartments to Nigerians.

Nigerian reactions included High Commissioner Ndubuisi Vitus Amaku saying: "Indians need to understand that a large number of Nigerians are living legally in India and even if some are living illegally, there are laws in place to deal with that and those should be implemented. If Nigerians are living illegally [in Goa], you don't wait till their compatriot is murdered before you go around picking them up and threatening them with deportation. That's like rubbing salt in their wounds." Administrative Attache Jacob Nwadibia warned: "If discrimination against Nigerians was not stopped immediately, Indians in Nigeria may face repercussions. There are only 50,000 Nigerians living in India, but there are over a million Indians living in Nigeria. Thousands of Indians living there will be thrown out on the streets if the forcible eviction of Nigerians in Goa does not stop." Spokesman for the embassy Tokunbo Falohun pragmatically responded: "The discrimination is apparent and we just want that it should end and the law should take its own course."[12]

Indian Language School is in Lagos, educating Indian families.