Nigeria has experienced large internal and external migration flows in the last decades. In the 1970s, the oil boom attracted foreigners, and the country saw more people immigrating than emigrating. However, in the 1980s, the number of Nigerians leaving the country increased as a consequence of the economic downturn and political instability. Since then, the net migration rate has stayed negative. With 206 million people, Nigeria has, nonetheless, the largest population in Africa and the seventh largest in the world.
In 2020, 0.6 percent of the population in Nigeria consisted of migrants, equal to 1.3 million people. Among the West African countries, Nigeria has the lowest share of migrants. However, this might be linked to its vast population.
Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria
Nigeria counts about 66 thousand refugees. The majority come from Cameroon. They are mainly hosted in the states of Cross River, Benue, and Taraba, the Nigerian states at the borders with Cameroon. As of March 2021, Cross River counted almost 38 thousand refugees from Cameroon and over 16 thousand from Taraba. Cameroonians flee from ongoing violence between security forces and armed groups to their neighboring country Nigeria. When it comes to asylum, after Niger, Cameroon is the most frequent country of origin for asylum seekers in Nigeria.
African migration flows
Political instability, terrorism, poverty, as well as religious and ethnic conflicts drive migration in Africa. More than half of Africans migrating move within the African continent. East Africa is the most frequent destination. Indeed, the majority of refugees in Africa are in the Horn of Africa and in the East, in particular in Uganda, and Sudan. In 2020, Uganda had 1.4 million refugees, of a population of around 40 million. The migration routes taken by African migrants are among the deadliest in the world. In an attempt to reach other African or European countries, more than ten thousand migrants lost their lives on the African continent between 2014 and April 2021. For those trying to leave Africa by crossing the sea, the Mediterranean route and the West African Atlantic route saw thousands of deaths every year.
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