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British Nigerian

British Nigerian
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, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo
Nigerian languages
Christianity and Sunni Islam, a few Animism

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 largest Black British groups in the country.[3]


  • History 1
  • Population 2
    • Education 2.1
    • Distribution 2.2
    • Citizenship 2.3
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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.

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]


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.[14] 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[15]
1999 3,481[16]
2000 5,594[17]
2001 6,290[18]
2002 6,480[19]
2003 6,300[20]
2004 6,280[21]
2005 6,615[22]
2006 5,875[23]
2007 6,030[24]
2008 4,530[25]
2009 6,955[26]

See also


  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. ^  
  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".  
  9. ^ "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)".  
  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. ^ "London's Little Lagos". The African Courier. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  15. ^ Chilton, Tony; Kilsby, Peter (1999-04-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 1998". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  16. ^ Kilsby, Peter; McGregor, Rod (2000-06-08). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 1999". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  17. ^ Dudley, Jill; Harvey, Paul (2001-05-31). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2000". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  18. ^ Dudley, Jill; Hesketh, Krystina (2002-06-27). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2001". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  19. ^ Dudley, Jill; Woollacott, Simon (2003-08-28). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2002". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  20. ^ Dudley, Jill; Woollacott, Simon (2004-05-24). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2003". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  21. ^ Woollacott, Simon (2005-05-17). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2004". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  22. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2006-05-23). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2005". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  23. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2006-05-23). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2006". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  24. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2008-05-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2007". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  25. ^ Freelove Mensah, John (2008-05-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2008". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  26. ^ Danzelman, Philip (2010-05-27). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2009". Home Office. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 

External links

Diaspora Associations

  • Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CAN-UK)
  • Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE)
  • National Association of Nigerian Communities (NANC)
  • African Foundation for Development (AFFORD-UK)
  • Students' Association of Nigerian Students in Diaspora (SAND)

Professional Associations

  • The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce
  • British Nigeria Law Forum
  • The Association of British-Nigerian Law Enforcement Officers (ABLE)
  • Association of Nigerian Academics in the UK
  • Nigeria Association of Project Professionals UK (NAPPUK)
  • Engineering Forum of Nigerians (EFN-UK)
  • Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain (MANSAG)
  • Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association UK (NNCA)

Cultural Events

  • Nigerian Carnival UK
  • Language courses for Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba at SOAS
  • Festival of Yoruba Arts (FOYA)
  • Igbo Cultural & Support Network (ICSN)
  • Africa Centre
  • UK Black Pride


  • - First Ethnic Media platform in Europe, based in UK
  • Radio Biafra London
  • Nigerian Watch Newspaper
  • Voice of Africa Radio
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