201,184 (2011 Census figure)
215,000 (2019 ONS estimate)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Throughout the United Kingdom|
In particular Greater London, South East England, East of England, North West England
English (British, Nigerian, Pidgin), Yoruba and Igbo
|Predominantly Christianity, minority Islam (Sunni, Shia), traditional religions|
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 other former British colonies, Nigeria has been a large source of immigrants to the United Kingdom. Prior to Nigerian 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 higher education. In the 1960s, civil and political unrest in Nigeria contributed to many refugees migrating to Britain, along with skilled workers.
Nigerians emigrated 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".
|Largest Community in 2011|
|East Midlands||6,601||Nottingham - 1,872|
|East of England||15,557||Essex - 2,787|
|London||114,718||London Borough of Southwark - 13,588|
|North East England||2,768||Newcastle Upon Tyne - 1,226|
|North West England||13,903||Manchester - 6,444|
|South East England||16,273||Kent - 3,100|
|South West England||3,941||Bristol - 1,124|
|West Midlands||8,628||Birmingham - 3,399|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||6,301||Leeds - 1,744|
|Northern Ireland||543||Belfast|
|Wales||2,493||Cardiff - 696|
The 2001 UK Census recorded 88,378 Nigerian-born people resident in the UK. The 2011 Census recorded 191,183 Nigerian-born residents in England and Wales. The censuses of Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded 9,458 and 543 Nigerian-born residents respectively. More recent estimates by the Office for National Statistics put the figure at 215,000 in 2019.
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% of the population of the Peckham census tract at the time of the 2001 UK 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.
|Persons granted citizenship|
In England and Wales in 2011, 14,914 people (0.03% of all residents aged three and over) spoke Yoruba as a main language, 7,946 (0.01%) spoke Igbo and 6,639 (0.01%) spoke other Nigerian languages. In London, 10,119 people (0.13% of all residents aged three and over) spoke Yoruba as a main language, 5,252 (0.07%) people spoke Igbo and 3,577 (0.05%) spoke other Nigerian languages. Youths in the UK with Nigerian parents tend to speak English as a main language compared to British youths from other nationalities as native languages such as Yoruba and Igbo are not commonly spoke as a main household language.
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".
Notable British Nigerians
Nigerian citizens of British descent
- Caroline Danjuma, actress
- Eku Edewor, actress
- Lola Maja, makeup artist
- Nicholas Mostyn, judge
- SHiiKANE, girl group
- Remi Vaughan-Richards, filmmaker
British citizens of Nigerian descent
- Dupsy Abiola, entrepreneur
- Dotun Adebayo, journalist and presenter
- Victor, Lord Adebowale, peer
- Adelayo Adedayo, actress
- Abu-Abdullah Adelabu, cleric, scholar and publisher
- Eniola Aluko, footballer
- Julie Adenuga, radio presenter and host
- Abimbola Afolami, MP
- Kriss Akabusi, athlete
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, actor
- Dele Alli, footballer
- John Amaechi, basketball player and psychologist
- Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, nurse and professor of nursing
- OG Anunoby, basketball player
- Matthew Ashimolowo, clergyman
- Richard Ayoade, actor and comedian of Norwegian and Nigerian descent
- Kemi Badenoch, MP
- Tunde Baiyewu, singer
- Dame Shirley Bassey, singer
- Sara Forbes Bonetta, Yoruba princess, goddaughter to Queen Victoria
- John Boyega, actor who played Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy
- Tosin Cole, actor
- Taio Cruz, singer
- Dave (rapper)
- Dizzee Rascal, grime artist
- Ugo Ehiogu, footballer
- Chiwetel Ejiofor, actor
- Carmen Ejogo, actress
- Buchi Emecheta, author
- Olaudah Equiano, explorer, writer, merchant and abolitionist
- Florence Eshalomi, MP
- Bernardine Evaristo, author and Booker Prize winner
- John Fashanu, footballer
- Justin Fashanu, footballer
- Keji Giwa, entrepreneur
- Helen Grant, MP
- Vick Hope, television and radio presenter
- AJ Odudu, television and radio presenter
- Anne-Marie Imafidon, child prodigy
- Maro Itoje, Rugby union player
- Alex Iwobi, footballer
- NneNne Iwuji-Eme, Britain's first black female ambassador
- JME, grime artist
- Hannah John-Kamen, actor of Norwegian and Nigerian descent
- Anthony Joshua, boxer
- Cush Jumbo, actress, writer
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim, actor
- Eman Kellam, television presenter and actor
- Olajide Olatunji, known online and professionally as KSI, YouTube personality and rapper
- Lemar, singer
- Ugo Monye, rugby player
- Victor Moses, footballer
- John Obi Mikel, footballer
- Esther Odekunle, neurobiologist and antibody engineer
- Chris Ofili, artist
- Michelle Ogundehin, television presenter
- Adebayo Ogunlesi, investment banker
- Jordan Oguntayo, model
- Christine Ohuruogu, athlete
- Femi Oke, journalist
- Kele Okereke, musician
- Sophie Okonedo, actress
- Sir Ken Olisa, investment banker and businessman
- Eunice Olumide, broadcaster, actress, supermodel
- David Olusoga, historian
- Fiona Onasanya, MP
- Chi Onwurah, MP
- Kate Osamor, MP
- Martha, Baroness Osamor, peer
- David Oyelowo, actor
- Abiodun Oyepitan, athlete
- Helen Oyeyemi, writer
- Annie Yellowe Palma, author
- Hal Robson-Kanu, footballer
- Sade, singer
- Bukayo Saka, footballer
- Seal (musician)
- Yinka Shonibare, artist
- Skepta, grime artist
- Damilola Taylor, murder victim
- Tinie Tempah, grime artist
- Daley Thompson, Olympian
- Chuka Umunna, MP
- Reece Wabara, footballer and businessman
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