Nigerians beyond the borders: construction and sustenance of a national identity in diaspora
The rate at which Nigerians relocate to foreign countries has been increasing in recent years; most are relocating in pursuit of better economic opportunities. This study attempted to examine Nigerian immigrants’ negotiation and sustenance of Nigerian identity as they seek to make a living in their new locations abroad. The study explored the self-identification experience of the mover, before and after relocation, as well as hosts’ attitudes to them, in their quest to find meaning as they strive to adjust to living in the diaspora. The study employed the narrative method of data collection and was conducted in Peckam, London, UK, with 20 participants selected through the snowball sampling technique. The study also used a questionnaire to collect data from participants regarding their demographics. The findings revealed that, despite the negativity in the news about the home country, participants expressed a strong self-identification with their home country. How this was made possible was analysed in the paper. In contrast, the results showed that the same could not be said about the children taken out of the country or born in diaspora: their self-identification was with the country of residence, i.e. the United Kingdom (UK). The study also showed that: Nigerians in the diaspora were unfavourably perceived by the host country; those who were perceived to have failed in the struggle to adjust and find meaning in life abroad would perhaps end up in care homes. The study suggested that further studies should be done to verify this claim.