US, UK top list of countries Nigerians abroad live

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By Lexi Elo

Latest snap poll released by NOIPolls Limited, a polling firm revealthat the United States of America and the United Kingdom top the list of countries  most Nigerians abroad live in when compared to other countries in the world thereby making North America and Europe the two continents most Nigerians abroad dwell in.

The poll survey showed that larger proportion of Nigerians (61 percent) surveyed disclosed they had a relative/friend living abroad, a development that is mostly true for Nigerians in the South-West (69 percent), South-South (68 percent) and South-East zones (63 percent). While the finding could not absolute figures on immigration, suggests a high level of migration of Nigerians to foreign countries.

More findings revealed that most respondents believe Nigerians living abroad are better off in foreign countries with regards to opportunities (66 percent), financial stability (66 percent) and living conditions (63 percent) and worse off in terms of social interactions. However, there were variations in these perceptions by continents. For instance, all respondents who have relatives/ living in and South America perceive the living conditions of Nigerians to be better off in foreign countries, slightly more than half of the respondents who have relatives/friends in Africa share this same perception.

Also, 84 percent of respondents who have relatives/friends in Asia believe Nigerians abroad are better in terms of financial stability, with 62 percent of respondents who have relatives in North America sharing the same perception.

Furthermore, most Nigerians are aware of the recent attacks on foreigners in South Africa with majority suggesting that the Federal Government should ‘advise citizens to come back home’.  Another proportion recommends a ‘diplomatic dialogue’ between both countries in order to secure Nigerians living in South Africa.
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Moreover, 17 percent believe a long term strategy among other suggestion, such as ‘employment creation’ in Nigeria would reduce the migration of Nigerians to South Africa.

More often than not, migrants undertake travels with the hope of securing better quality of life. Migrants risk everything in anticipation of a greener pasture. According to UNHCR, the United Refugee Agency, “so far in 2014, over 200,000 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea into the Mediterranean, compared to 60,000 recorded migrants in 2013. The southern shores of the Mediterranean have an estimation of over 600,000 illegal immigrants waiting to embark on the voyage while several thousands have drowned in the past few years”.

Several reasons have been attributed to why people chose to migrate; poverty, lack of liveable wage, warfare, insecurity, economic calamities, political unrest, social battle and lack of basic amenities, these reasons have prompted people to leave their country to a perceived ‘safe haven’. Based on some testimonies, migration is worth the risk to some set of people, while others who recount their ordeal wished they never embarked on the uncertain journey.

Against this background, NOIPolls conducted it recent poll on migration to gauge the perceptions of Nigerians on migration and on vital socio-economic attributes relating to migration. The poll also sought to gauge the awareness of Nigerians on the recent happenings in South Africa.
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