Research Paper (Nigerian Immigrants in The United States)

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NIGERIAN IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES
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NIGERIAN IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES
Introduction
The issue of African immigrants entering the United States, Europe, and Asia due to
various reasons has become one of the main topics of discussion in the media today. Nigerian
immigrants form the biggest portion of the African immigrants in the United States. The size of
the Nigerian immigrants' population in the United States has continued to increase significantly
from the 1980s. It is estimated that the Nigerian immigrants contribute roughly 0.6% of the
U.S.'s foreign-born population. This paper captures the reasons why Nigerian immigrants moved
to the United States, the challenges they face, and their demographics and socioeconomic
characteristics.
Why Nigerian immigrants moved to the United States
There are several reasons why Nigerian immigrants moved from their homeland country
to the United States. Some of these reasons include insecurity, unemployment, poverty, search
for better education opportunities, and poor governance.


Insecurity

Nigeria is one of the African countries that has been hit by insecurity challenges.
Terrorism and tribal clashes are the main threats to Nigeria's security that have contributed to the
movement of some Nigerian citizens to the United States.1 Nigeria has experienced some of the
worst tribal clashes from 1966 up to date.
1

1

Ahonsi-Yakubu, A. (2005). Political Transitions, Crime and Insecurity in Nigeria. Africa Development, 26(1). doi:
10.4314/ad.v26i1.22133

The Massacre of Igbo civilians in 1966 left about 30,000 to 50,000 people dead. The
2000 Kaduna Riots is also one of the major insecurity crisis that hit Nigeria. This riots left
around 1,000 to 5,000 people dead and thousands displaced. The Kaduna riots were caused by
the government’s decision to pass Sharia law into law in a nation where the majority of the
citizens are non-Muslims. Other insecurity crises that Nigeria has faced over the past decades are
the 2001 Jos Crisis, Sagamu Crisis, Ife-Modakeke Crisis, Warri Crisis, etc.2 All these clashes
contributed to the movement of some Nigeria citizens to seek refuge from other secure nations
such as the United States.
Terrorism is also one of the main threats contributing to insecurity in Nigeria. This is
because there has been an emergence of various terror groups in Nigeria over the past decades.
These terror groups have carried out several attacks that caused loss of lives and destruction of
property. The two main terror groups that have been a threat to Nigeria’s security are Boko
Haram and MEND. These groups employ various tactics such as kidnapping, suicide bombing,
vandalism, sabotage of oil facilities, etc. in conducting attacks.3 Terror attacks many Nigerians to
flee their country and seek safety in the United States due to fear of being attack. Even currently,
the constant attack from the Boko Haram which is a terror group that is based in Nigeria is
contributing making many Nigerians to flee their country and seek safety from other nations.
This is because people normally feel comfortable in a safe and secure environment.
2



2

Unemployment

Idemudia, E. (2005). Spatial patterns and insecurity in urban Nigeria. Journal Of Psychology In Africa, 15(1). doi:
10.4314/jpa.v15i1.30637

3

Idris, M. (2013). Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria. Public Administration Research, 2(1). doi:
10.5539/par.v2n1p59

Nigeria is one of the countries that have the highest rate of unemployment in Africa. The
rising rate of unemployment in Nigeria forced some of the educated Nigerian citizens to seek
employment in the developed nations such as the United States.4 These individuals migrated to
the United States to seek employment ...


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