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Hardship In U.S. forces Nigerians home

Posted by By Chinedu Offor, Correspondent, Washington DC (Daily Independent) on 2008/12/19 | Views: 2439 |

Hardship In U.S. forces Nigerians home


Thousands of Nigerian families are leaving America in time for Christmas as part of the traditional migration back to their roots.

Thousands of Nigerian families are leaving America in time for Christmas as part of the traditional migration back to their roots.

But, unlike before, many have ruled out returning to the country that once promised prosperity.

Officials of the Nigerian embassy in Washington, New York, and Atlanta said over 500,000 Nigerians have left the U.S. to spend time with their kit and kin.

About 100,000 - mostly those with low paying jobs- plan to settle in Nigeria. Administration officials said layoffs caused by the downturn of the once roaring American economy, dwindling job opportunities, anti-immigrant sentiments, and the crackdown on illegal immigrants are forcing hard choices on Nigerians and other nationals.

"You worry about how to survive or what those at home will say, but this is not the time for shame. I have to survive with my children," said Joseph Oligbo, a 45-year-old father of four, who lost his car dealership in Atlanta two months ago. Embassy officials in New York confirmed that more people like Oluigbo are going home for good. A sharp increase in duties paid by Nigerian businessmen has also affected small retailers.

"We recorded an increase in the number of Nigerians who told us they are interested in settling in Nigeria and made inquiries on the likely opportunities in the country," the officials explained. Other Nigerians are looking at opportunities in Europe, Asia, and even Ghana, as alternatives outside the U.S.

An estimated two million Nigerian-Americans live in the U.S., mostly in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, and Virginia.

Statistics in those states also show movement by Nigerians to greener pastures outside America. Another indicator of the dire straits they are going through is the sharp fall in the amount of money sent home.

The Treasury Department said September and November remittances totalled $50.10 million, down 12 per cent from June

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.