British Nigerian

Nigerians in the United Kingdom
Total population
Nigerian-born residents
201,184 (2011 Census)
Regions with significant populations
Throughout the United Kingdom
In particular Greater London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff, Sheffield
English (British, Nigerian, Pidgin), Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Edo, Ibibio-Anaang-Efik, Esan, Urhobo, Isoko, Idoma, Ijaw, Fulani, Kalabari, Igala, Ikwerre, Tiv, Ebira, Etsako
Nigerian languages
Christianity, Islam (Sunni), traditional religions

British Nigerian is a term sometimes used to describe British people of Nigerian descent,[1][2] or Nigerian people of British descent.

This article is about residents and citizens of Nigerian descent living in Britain. Many Nigerians and their British-born descendants 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 took place over 200 years ago as a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade. Olaudah Equiano, born in what is now Nigeria and a former slave, lived in London and 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 immigrated 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]

In 2015, Britain's Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner expressed concerns about the extent of contemporary slavery involving Nigerians smuggled to the UK. Of more than 2,000 potential victims of human trafficking referred to the National Crime Agency in 2014, 244 were from Nigeria. This represented a 31 per cent increase on 2013's figure. According to the BBC, "Campaigners believe the real figure of potential trafficking victims from Nigeria could be much higher".[7]


Location Nigerian-born population
East Midlands 6,601
East of England 15,557
London 114,718
North East England 2,768
North West England 13,903
South East England 16,273
South West England 3,941
West Midlands 8,628
Yorkshire and the Humber 6,301
Northern Ireland 543
Scotland 9,458
Wales 2,493

The 2001 UK Census recorded 88,378 Nigerian-born people resident in the UK.[11] More recent estimates by the Office for National Statistics put the figure at 181,000 in 2013.[12] The 2011 Census recorded 191,183 Nigerian-born residents in England and Wales.[8] The censuses of Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded 9,458 and 543 Nigerian-born residents respectively.[9][10]

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.[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.[14] Many of the local establishments are Yoruba owned.[15] Nigerian churches and mosques can be found in the area. As immigrants have become assimilated, English has always been the predominant language of the local Nigerian British population as English is the main spoken language in Nigeria. 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.[14]


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[16]
1999 3,481[17]
2000 5,594[18]
2001 6,290[19]
2002 6,480[20]
2003 6,300[21]
2004 6,280[22]
2005 6,615[23]
2006 5,875[24]
2007 6,030[25]
2008 4,530[26]
2009 6,955[27]


According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Nigerian pupils are among best performing student groups in the United Kingdom. Taking data for only England, a 2013 IPPR survey reported that the proportion of British Nigerian pupils gaining 5 A*–C grades at GCSE (including Maths and English) in 2010–2011 was 21.8 percentage points higher than the England mean of 59.6 per cent. This average was calculated using student data, where available, from various local authorities in England.[28]

The number of Nigerian pupils at British private schools is growing. In November 2013, The Spectator noted that Nigerians, along with Russians, "are now the fastest-growing population in British private schools".[29] In 2013, the number of entrants to private schools from Nigeria increased by 16 per cent.[30]

According to Higher Education Statistics Agency data, 17,620 students from Nigeria were studying at British public higher education institutions in the academic year 2011-12. This made them the third largest country-of-origin group behind students from China and India. Of the 17,620, 6,500 were undergraduates, 9,620 taught postgraduates and 1,500 research postgraduates.[31]

Research by Euromonitor International for the British Council indicates that in 2010, the majority (66 per cent) of Nigerian foreign students attended universities in the UK. The students are mainly drawn to these institutions' English language academic system. Their time studying in Britain is also facilitated by an established and large Nigerian community and by "the relative proximity of the UK to Nigeria".[32]

Notable British Nigerians

Nigerian people of British descent

British people of Nigerian descent

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. 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. 1 2 White, Robin (2005-01-25). "Little Lagos in south London". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  4. 1 2 "Nigerian London". BBC London. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Change Institute (April 2009). "The Nigerian Muslim Community in England: Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities" (PDF). London: Communities and Local Government. pp. 23–24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. 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. Kotecha, Sima (17 June 2015). "Nigerian trafficking 'top priority', commissioner says". BBC News. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  8. 1 2 "2011 Census: QS203EW Country of birth (detailed), local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  9. 1 2 "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  10. 1 2 "Country of Birth - Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  11. "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  12. "Estimated overseas-born population resident in the United Kingdom by sex, by country of birth (Table 1.4)". Office for National Statistics. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2015. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.
  13. "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.
  14. 1 2 "Born abroad: Nigeria". BBC News. 2005-09-07. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  15. "London's Little Lagos". The African Courier. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  16. Chilton, Tony; Kilsby, Peter (20 April 1999). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 1998" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  17. Kilsby, Peter; McGregor, Rod (8 June 2000). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 1999" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  18. Dudley, Jill; Harvey, Paul (31 May 2001). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2000" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  19. Dudley, Jill; Hesketh, Krystina (27 June 2002). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2001" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  20. Dudley, Jill; Woollacott, Simon (28 August 2003). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2002" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  21. Dudley, Jill; Woollacott, Simon (24 May 2004). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2003" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  22. Woollacott, Simon (17 May 2005). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2004" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  23. Freelove Mensah, John (23 May 2006). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2005" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  24. Freelove Mensah, John (23 May 2006). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2006" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  25. Freelove Mensah, John (20 May 2008). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2007" (PDF). Home Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  26. Freelove Mensah, John (2008-05-20). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2008" (PDF). Home Office. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  27. Danzelman, Philip (2010-05-27). "Persons Granted British Citizenship, United Kingdom, 2009". Home Office. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  28. Rutter, Jill (March 2013). "Back to Basics: Towards a Successful and Cost-effective Integration Policy" (PDF). Institute for Public Policy Research. p. 43. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  29. Robinson, Stephen (30 November 2013). "A British education has become a commodity bought by wealthy foreigners". The Spectator. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  30. Paton, Graeme (8 February 2014). "Bid to stop private schools being 'filled by rich foreigners'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  31. "International Higher Education in Facts and Figures" (PDF). UK HE International Unit. Autumn 2013. p. 5. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  32. "The Benefits of the English Language for Individuals and Societies: Quantitative Indicators from Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Pakistan" (PDF). Euromonitor International for the British Council. Retrieved 3 January 2015.

External links

Diaspora associations

Professional associations

Cultural events


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