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.
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.
Like many former British colonies, Nigeria has been a large source of immigrants to the United Kingdom. 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. In the 1960s, civil and political unrest in Nigeria contributed to many refugees migrating to Britain, along with skilled workers.
Nigerians immigrated in larger numbers in the 1980s, following the collapse of the petroleum boom. This wave of migration has been more permanent than the pre-independence wave of temporary migration. Asylum applications from Nigerians peaked in 1995, when the repression associated with the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha was at its height.
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".
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.
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. Many of the local establishments are Yoruba owned. 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. Outside London and South East England, the largest Nigerian-born communities are found in the East of England and the North West.
Below is a table showing how many Nigerians were granted British citizenship and the right of abode in the period 1998 to 2008.
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.
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". In 2013, the number of entrants to private schools from Nigeria increased by 16 per cent.
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.
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".