Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia; Possible Hindrances to Social Interaction of Nigerian Migrants in Foreign Countries

Abuja, Nigeria. March 21st, 2017 – The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed worldwide on March 21st each year. The day aims to remind people of racial discrimination’s negative consequence as well as encouraging people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination. The theme for the 2017 Day is racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration. This theme highlights the importance of the rights to equality and non-discrimination as basic foundations of human rights; since in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religion and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred. 

In view of the 2017 Day commemoration, NOIPolls presents a throwback from its migration poll conducted in 2015, which gauged the perceptions of Nigerians on migration and vital socio-economic attributes relating to migration, as well as the perceptions of Nigerians on the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The poll showed that a considerable proportion of Nigerians are migrants abroad mostly in the United States of America (67 percent) and the United Kingdom (43 percent) when compared to other countries in the world. Findings from the poll also revealed that it is perceived that Nigerian migrants are better off in foreign countries in terms of economic opportunities (66 percent), financial stability (66 percent) and living conditions (63 percent); however, they are worse off in terms of social interaction (39%). This perception maybe attributed to some level of discrimination against migrants, especially in the areas of housing, education, health, work or social security as revealed by the UN. 

Furthermore, the UN declared that global financial crisis could lead to a rise in xenophobia, racist sentiments and discriminatory practices against the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of migrants; the recent xenophobic attack in South Africa is an apt example. In light of these attacks, Nigerian recommended that the Federal Government should ‘advise citizens to come back home’ Government should engage in ‘diplomatic dialogue’ (25 percent) in order to secure Nigerians living in South Africa among other suggestions. 

Finally, while the United Nations’ (UN) and other relevant international stakeholders are constantly working towards the elimination of racial discrimination all over the world, migrants must endeavour to go through the proper immigration procedures in order to enhance the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights which are crucial for the well-being of many migrants in foreign countries. Below are some key findings from the migration poll conducted in 2015.  

Excerpts of Findings from the NOIPolls survey on migration

In gauging the proportions of Nigerians who have relatives living abroad, the poll result showed that the larger proportion of Nigerians (61 percent) surveyed affirmed they have relative(s)/friend(s) living abroad and majority of respondents in this category were residents of the South-West (69 percent), South-South (68 percent) and South-East zones (63 percent). In addition, 39 percent claimed they do not have any relative/friend living abroad. 

Furthermore, a larger proportion of respondents reported that they have relatives/friends living in the United States of America (67 percent). This is followed by 43 percent of the respondents who indicated they have relatives/friends living in the United Kingdom. Other countries indicated by respondents include; South Africa (31 percent), Gambia (31 percent), Canada (16 percent), Malaysia (12 percent) and Germany (12 percent) among other countries.

In determining the perceptions of respondents on the socio-economic welfare of Nigerians living abroad, results indicated that most respondents were of the opinion that Nigerians living abroad were better off in foreign countries in terms of economic opportunities (66 percent), financial stability (66 percent) and living conditions (63 percent). On the contrary, respondents perceived Nigerians living abroad to be worse off in terms of their social interactions with their host communities.

Furthermore, findings revealed that most Nigerians (74 percent) acknowledged awareness of the attacks on foreigners in South Africa whereas, 26 percent were not informed of the happenings in South Africa.

Finally, out of the 74 percent of the respondents who showed awareness of these attacks in South-Africa, 35 percent suggested that the Federal Government should ‘advise citizens to come back home’. Also, 25 percent recommended a ‘diplomatic dialogue’ that would secure Nigerians living in South Africa, while (17 percent) suggested ‘employment creation’ in Nigeria would reduce the migration of Nigerians to South Africa amongst other suggestions. 

Analysis by gender revealed that more females (37 percent) than males (31 percent) respondents suggested the Federal Government should advise citizens to come to Nigeria, whereas more males (29 percent) than females (21 percent) respondents recommended a diplomatic dialogue between the two nations to aid in securing the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens residing in South Africa.

In conclusion, the poll revealed that slightly more than 6 in 10 Nigerians confirmed that they have relatives living abroad with the majority living in the US (67 percent) and the UK (43 percent) which represents North America and Europe. In addition, most respondents were of the opinion that Nigerians living abroad were better off in the countries in which they reside in terms of economic opportunities (66 percent), financial stability (66 percent) and living conditions (63 percent).  However, respondents also believed that Nigerian migrants living in these foreign countries were worse off with regards to social interaction. Finally, most Nigerians (74 percent) acknowledged awareness of the attacks on foreigners in South Africa, with a majority of the respondents (35 percent) suggesting that the Federal Government should ‘advise citizens to come back home’, while, other respondents recommended a ‘diplomatic dialogue’ (25 percent) would aid in securing Nigerians living in South Africa. In addition, 17 percent of respondents believe that ‘employment creation’ in Nigeria would reduce the migration of Nigerians to South Africa amongst other suggestions.

The implications of the above are that Government has to do more to strengthen the economy and improve the social welfare of Nigerians to reduce migration and capital flight, as the world comes together to put an end to discrimination against persons for any reason following the UN's suggestion which emphasizes the human rights approach to global migration governance  to ensure the protection of human rights of all migrants and their families.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing 27th April, 2015. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com 

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published. 

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

 

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