Starting a new chapter of your life abroad is very exciting, but it won’t always be easy.
We’ve put together some information, tips and advice to help you to settle in, connect with your local community, find other Nigerians in the diaspora, and get your new life in the UK off to a positive start.
Nigerians in the United Kingdom
How many Nigerians live in the UK?
Nigerians move to the United Kingdom for a variety of reasons. Some are looking to progress their careers or seek new opportunities, while others want a fresh start or to experience living in a different country.
No matter what your reasons for moving are, you’ll be in good company.
According to statistics published by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) for the period of 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, there were an estimated 205,000 people who were born in Nigeria living in the UK.
Cities with the largest Nigerian communities
Living abroad in an unfamiliar culture, far away from your loved ones and home comforts, can sometimes feel lonely and isolated.
Many Nigerians who move to the UK settle down in areas of the country with existing Nigerian communities, providing a bit of a home away from home.
Unsurprisingly, the largest Nigerian population in the UK, can be found in multi-cultural London. It is estimated that around 97,000 of the 205,000 Nigerians in the UK live there.
Within London, the largest Nigerian communities can be found in:
- Southwark (11,000)
- Greenwich (14,000)
- Barking and Dagenham (9,000)
Outside of the Nigerian community in London, the rest of the UK’s Nigerian population is more spread out.
Other sizeable communities can be found in:
- Greater Manchester (13,000), of which 7,000 live in Manchester and 3,000 in Salford.
- Leeds (4,000)
- Coventry (4,000)
- Gravesham (4,000)
London’s Nigerian community
In the 1960s, a community of Nigerians settled in Peckham in Southwark, central London, and this community has continued to grow ever since.
In fact, the Nigerian community in Peckham is so vibrant, that it has been dubbed a “mini Lagos”. Bustling with shops selling Nigerian imports and restaurants serving authentic Nigerian dishes, it is the place to go for your fix of Nigerian food, fashion and culture if you’re feeling homesick.
Other notable Nigerian neighbourhoods in central London include:
- Abbey Wood
- Old Kent Road
Many Nigerians in London enjoy shopping at the city’s bustling marketplaces, some of which are a treasure trove of Nigerian food and fashion.
Whether you’re shopping for alligator pepper, okra, attieke, or agbalumo, take a walk through one of these markets and you’ll soon find all the ingredients you need to rustle up your favourite family recipe.
- Barking market
- Ridley Road market
- Queens market
- Brixton village market
- Africa shopping centre
Shops selling Nigerian imports
Can’t wait until the market day, or looking for something more specific? London is home to some of the UK’s best African supermarkets and textile stores, including:
- Africa Shopping Centre, Brixton
- John and Biola Supermarket, Thamesmead
- Bims African food store, Peckham
- Nasseri Fabrics, Brixton
- Stella’s Groceries and Vegetables, Peckham
According to the BBC, there are over 300 Nigerian restaurants in London. So, whether you’re pining for pounded yam or craving a bowl of jollof rice, you can tuck into your favourite dish at one of these popular Nigerian restaurants or cafes.
- Lolak Afrique, Peckam
- Obalende Suya Express, Peckham
- 805 restaurant, Old Kent Road
- Enish, Lewisham
- Eko Wine Bar and Restaurant, Homerton
- Café Spice, Peckham
- Emukay, Camberwell
- Cannan restaurant, Camberwell
- Ikoyi, St James
Famous Nigerians in the UK
Some of the Nigerians and British Nigerians who have risen to fame or made a name for themselves in the UK are:
- Sade Adu (singer)
- Lemar Obika (singer)
- Adetomiwa Edun (actor)
- John Boyega (actor)
- Caroline Chikezie (actress)
- Richard Ayoade (comedian/actor/director)
- Adewale Adenaike (Nigerian politician)
- Dotun Adebayo (BBC radio presenter and writer)
- Kele Okereke (Musician)
Ways to connect with the Nigerian community
Making new friends and connections in an unfamiliar country can be difficult. Luckily, there are plenty of groups, organisations and events out there to help you to meet likeminded people, establish new friendships and find support as you settle in and build your new life.
Events and Festivals
- Yoruba Arts Festival – Celebrating Yoruba art and culture – London
- Miss Nigeria UK – Cultural pageant for the Nigerian diaspora – London
- Igbo Festival of Arts and Culture - Annual cultural celebration bringing together all Igbo people and Africans in Diaspora in the UK – London
- Africa Oye - Celebration of African and Caribbean music and culture – Liverpool
- Africa Utopia – You’ll feel like you’ve been transported from London to Nigeria at this annual celebration of Africa and its diaspora – London
- Afrotech Fest – A tech festival by and for black people of African and Caribbean heritage – London.
Organisations and groups
Internations – Become a member to connect with other Nigerians in diaspora and receive invitations to exciting events and activities.
Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) – Members can connect and network with other Nigerian professionals living in the United Kingdom.
Facebook groups – A quick search on Facebook can help you to find local groups connecting Nigerians in diaspora.
University societies – If you’re studying in the UK, ask your university’s student union whether there is a Nigerian society you can join.
Keep your finger on the pulse with community news and local events with these two online publications aimed at the UK’s Nigerian diaspora.
Religion plays a big part in the lives of many Nigerians. If you’re living abroad, attending a place of worship can be a great way of meeting likeminded people and feeling a sense of community.
The Southwark area of London now boasts over 250 African churches - the highest concentration outside of Africa!
Finding a job
If you’ve just arrived in a foreign country, it can be difficult to know where to begin with finding employment. Here are the top places to find job vacancies in the UK.
- Job vacancy search engines like Reed, Indeed, Monster and TotalJobs
- JobCentre online
- Register with recruitment agencies
Get your qualifications recognised in the UK with the help of UK NARIC. For a fee, they’ll give you a comparison statement that confirms your Nigerian qualifications and what UK level they are comparable to.
Tips for Nigerians in the UK
Nigeria is in the same time zone as the United Kingdom’s Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but Nigeria does not use Daylight Savings.
So, during British Summer Time, once the clocks have gone forward one hour of Greenwich Mean Time, the United Kingdom is one hour ahead of Nigeria. When the clocks go back again in the Autumn, it will be the same time in the United Kingdom as it is in Nigeria.
Sending a letter from the UK to Nigeria
If you need to send a letter, large letter, or package from the UK to Nigeria, then you can visit your local post office to receive help and advice with sending the item.
Find your local post office.
There are also several services available if you want to send a parcel with a courier. You can arrange to send your parcel with ParcelForce online, and then choose to either have your parcel collected from an address of your choice or drop your parcel off at your local Post Office or ParcelForce Worldwide depot for collection.
Calling Nigeria from the UK
The internet has made it cheap and easy to keep in touch with loved ones, no matter where they are in the world. Use popular apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger on your smartphone, tablet or laptop to voice and video chat with family and friends back home for free with an internet connection.
If you need to call Nigeria from the UK using a landline or mobile phone, then Nigeria’s country code is +234. If friends and family want to call your UK phone number, they should use the country code +44.
Sending money back home
If you need to transfer money from the UK to your family back home in Nigeria, we have you covered.
When you send a wire transfer with your bank or a high street agent, fees can be high and exchange rates poor, putting you out of pocket. So, your family receives less of your hard-earned cash.
Our fees and exchange rates are shown upfront and you can make a transfer in a few simple steps using your smartphone, laptop or tablet.
We offer the following services to Nigeria:
- Bank transfer – instant, or near-instant
- Cash pick up – available for collection instantly, or near-instant
- Airtime top up - instant