On Twitter, you may find that a user’s account name has both the Nigerian and Canadian national flags sitting pretty beside it. This is usually a reflection of allegiance to two nationalities, the former by birth and the other by immigration. More importantly, however, it depicts a massive movement of Nigeria’s active population to the United States’ smaller, quieter, less-likely-to-make-the-news neighbour.
More and more middle-class Nigerians are making the exodus from their home country to Canada, and according to recently published data, the number of Nigerians that have been issued residency permits has tripled in the last five years. The numbers show no signs of slowing down anytime soon: people are taking French classes and studying for IELTS tests, high-earning individuals are saving up amidst year-long applications, and conversations centred about migration have increased online and offline.
One reason for this would be that of all the countries in the world, Canada has been one of the most intentional about welcoming immigrants, who are motivated by the North American nation’s economic opportunities, diverse population and functional health care system, among other factors. In 2015, Canada implemented a new system for accepting skilled immigrants through its borders, using a points-based calculation in which applicants are scored on the basis of their age, work experience, education level, and language skills, with a view to easing the entry of skilled foreigners. In 2018, Canada’s immigration minister, Ahmed Hussein expressed the country’s intention to attract more than 1 million people from 2019 to 2021. Last year, over 341,000 immigrants successfully gained entry into Canada.
At the other end of the Atlantic, people are seeing more and more reasons to leave Nigeria. Many working-class youths are dissatisfied with the level of security, paucity of employment opportunities and slow pace of infrastructural development, and not only seek to carve out a better quality of life for themselves, but also raise their children in an environment where social security and human dignity are assured. For instance, more doctors and nurses, who are aware that there is a high demand for skilled labour in Canada, are taking foreign examinations to ensure qualification for a smooth passage to a country that appears to place more value on their services. A Twitter user once made a post about how an entire department in his organisation stopped functioning because the employees there had migrated.
Surely, having more Nigerians in Canada who send money back home and invest in local business contributes significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but the issue of brain drain calls for concern. Canadian authorities have been accused in certain quarters of subtly invading Nigeria to steal its talent, but the major argument is that if everything was alright back home, Nigerians wouldn’t be so eager to run to the airport. The youth population is ditching Lagos and Abuja for Ottawa because they feel a degree of discontent, and it is up to the government and public policy stakeholders to give them a reason to stay. If Nigerians can be guaranteed an adequate level of security, a fertile ground for business and supply of basic amenities, then immigration offices would be a lot less crowded.
2Baba releases new album “Warriors”
The album is a key offering in the celebration of 2Baba’s 20 Years A King project.
Award-winning Afropop icon 2Baba has released his new album titled “Warriors” earlier today, February 28. This album is released as part of his 20 Years a King (#20YearAKing) celebration, commemorating the two decades he has spent in the Nigerian music industry.
This new album contains just 13 tracks including previously released singles like ‘Important’, ‘Oyi’ and the Peruzzi-assisted smash hit, ‘Amaka’. The LP also boasts big-name collaborations like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide, Tiwa Savage and Peruzzi. It also features appearances from AJ Natives, Symeca and his daughter HI Idibia.
The production of the album is handled by a galaxy of PBanks, Spelz, Blaq Jeerzy, Bolji Beatz, Speroach Beatz, Richie, Ploops and his longtime collaborator, Jay Sleek.
Interestingly, this is the first 2Baba album that comes with a title track, which also serves as the opener of the full-length project.
On Tuesday, February 25, the celebrated singer held a well-attended listening party for the album at the Artisan Lounge bar, Lagos.
His seventh studio album, “Warriors” is the long-overdue follow up to “The Ascension” which was met with mixed reviews upon its release in 2014.
Formerly known as 2face Idibia, 2baba is one Africa’s most successful artists, winning local, continental and international awards like BET and MTV Europe Music Awards.
Exporting African sounds into Italy
Nigerian migrants are introducing Afrobeat to one of Italy’s most popular cities
Migrating from Africa to Europe is a particularly tricky business. It is usually very difficult to obtain visas, and consequently, many people opt for the long, tortuous route that runs through the Sahara Desert and extends into the Mediterranean Sea. It is a risky journey in many ways, as desperate migrants get robbed, swindled, enslaved or worse still, meet their end in the hot sands and high seas.
There is also the small matter of reputation when it comes to successful migrants. There are those who believe that men and women who manage to avoid death or slavery, and ultimately cross the borders into Italy and Spain, are either involved in drug peddling, prostitution or unsavoury menial jobs like washing up corpses.
There is a small group of people, however, who are slowly changing the narrative. These ones are not only showing that there is more that African migrants can do in Europe, but they are also exporting Nigerian music in all its exotic nature and rich flavour into one of Italy’s major cities.
Palermo, the capital city of the Sicilian province, is slowly becoming the Southern European capital for the world-conquering Afrobeats scene. Social media has given a platform to musicians who can reach a wide audience without institutional support. There are more than a few cities in Italy that are not exactly kind to migrants, but Palermo has gradually become a haven for a number of young Nigerian musicians to hone their craft and attempt to carve a niche for themselves on European shores.
The influx of these musicians has had a significant effect on the city, too. For instance, Ballaro, a small neighbourhood in Palermo, was once known as one of the most dangerous places in Italy, no thanks to the activities of the Mafia. But with the arrival of African and Asian immigrants, the neighbourhood is now revitalised and less prone to crime.
Artists like RayJeezy, Brenex Baba and Thug Money make a living from performing at night clubs across the city. They hope that their hustle ultimately pays off and that they gain worldwide recognition, but for now, they are contributing to the transformation of a city’s music and culture. Things are looking up for the African migrant population in Palermo, and it’s not hard to tell that there will be more where the music came from.
Netflix Announces First Original Nigerian Series
This comes just after the U.S-based streaming giant launched Netflix Naija.
Popular media-services provider Netflix has announced the production of its first original African series to be headlined by Nollywood director, Akin Omotoso.
This would be a six-part series that features an all-star Nollywood cast of Kate Henshaw, Ade Laoye, Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kehinde Bankole and many others.
Directed by a team of Akin Omotosho, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi, the series tells the story of a reincarnated goddess who seeks to avenge her sister’s death.
This announcement comes just after the U.S-based streaming platform unveiled Netflix Naija on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.
In a statement with Premium Times, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos revealed that “movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosians have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies.
“So, we’re incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories – bringing them to audiences all around the world.”
Over the past year, Netflix has featured a number of Nollywood movies on its streaming platform. Among such movies include the culturally and commercially successful King of Boys, October 1, The Figurine, Mokalik, and Merry Men.