Opinion

How true are the stereotypes of Nigerians in Italy?

I came to Italy in my early teens with my younger siblings to live with my mother who had left Nigeria in the late ’90s in search of greener pastures.

It was a tough decision for her to leave her three children and husband,

but because of our financial situation she had to step up to the occasion to provide for her family.

Her and my father both agreed to let my mother leave Nigeria because they felt migrant women had more opportunities than men. She was very lucky to meet good people in Italy who assisted her in getting a job and a permit of stay.

I’ve been living in Italy for years now and It’s my second home. It’s very sad that many Nigerians have a stereotype of Nigerians who live in Italy.

Nigerians are known far and wide for a great many things. While most proud and happy Nigerians represent our dear country abroad with outstanding academic and sport honours, evident in their hard work, open mindedness and kindness, some Nigerians have no doubt earned us quite the reputation of fraud, criminality and terrorism.

Let’s take a step back and remember that unsolved and pressing issues in Nigeria like unemployment, abuse of power, poverty, insecurity, lack of basic human amenities and injustice remain the reasons why many Nigerians enter other countries including Italy illegally through the Mediterranean route. If these issues were solved at the onset, Nigerians would be comfortable in our home country.

Stereotypes are sometimes funny, but more often ridiculous, and every country in the world is battling with stereotypes because they rob people of their individuality, oftentimes reducing their humanity. It can also lead to discrimination and racism.

Here are the stereotypes about Nigerians in Italy which aren’t simply true:

Drug Peddling.

“All Nigerians in Italy are Drug Dealers”

This stereotype is not only wrong but also harmful because if we’re being honest, every country has its own cache of criminals. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t law abiding citizens in those countries. Or that every citizen in those countries are criminals. The case is the same here. Not every Nigerian man in Italy is involved in the illicit affair of drug peddling. Many Nigerian men here serve and work in several non-criminal jobs.

Prostitution.

“Most Nigerian Women in Italy are Prostitutes”

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Another fallacy used stereotypically is that Nigerian women living in Italy are all prostitutes. This is quite common for indigenous Nigerians to say about Italian-Nigerians due to the “alarming” rate of trafficking of Nigerian women to be used as sex slaves.

“Massimo Lugli, a crime reporter with the Italian daily La Repubblica, estimated in April 2018 that there were nine million men paying for prostitutes in Italy alone and that business was worth 90 million euros per month. “When you buy these women, you are buying pain, a whole network of pain. Don’t do it!,” Lugli said on Italian TV”.

Although the rate has increased in the past few years, Italian Authorities, Welfare Associations, Churches, Non-profit Organizations and Nigerian appropriate authorities have joined hands together to assist women and children who have been exploited and trafficked to Italy for sexual exploitation. Safe houses have been created in Italy for the safety, refuge & rehabilitation of Nigerian women too.

Despite this, it doesn’t automatically translate to the stereotype by Nigerian compatriots that “all Nigerian women in Italy are prostitutes”. It’s very important to know that there are thousands of Nigerian women living in Italy that are excelling at top level in some of the best positions in the 21st century! Many Nigerian women in Italy also work diligently in legal jobs to support their families. There exist several ways to further education in Italy including apprenticeship. These opportunities have been taken advantage of by well meaning Nigerians women who are doing excellently well!

Internet Fraud

“Nigerians are Fraudsters”

Perhaps the most popular of the stereotypes, 5 out of 10 Nigerians have been labelled “Internet Fraudsters” in their lives. The stereotype was made popular by the many Nigerian Prince 419 schemes that were popular. While it is true that some Nigerian youths are into Internet Scams, the percentage of the youths partaking in this is minimal.

Also, many internet scammers prefer to use Nigeria and Nigerian internet identities to cover up their schemes. Authorities in Nigeria have been reinforced in the past couple of years to thoroughly discipline these misplaced youths and set them in order. Many of them have been caught and punished and the fight still continues to put a permanent end to these schemes.

Most Nigerians are truly kind, hard working, law-abiding and honest citizens that pursue honest means of livelihood. This statement is true all over the world.

These stereotypes are initiated and encouraged by Nigerian compatriots often times and are not only wrong, but harmful to our identities, image and proud African heritage of kindness, hard work and love. The truth is that these stereotypes simply aren’t thoroughly valid and should ALL be stopped. Not all Nigerians are Fraudsters, Drug Dealers nor Prostitutes!

We should all, as a collective, be devoted to building our images, developing our dear country and protecting our cultures rather than tearing them down!!!

Thanks for reading as always. Kindly follow me on Instagram!

Image credit: The pictures used on this post are from Google and unsplash.
Italian

Quanto sono veri gli stereotipi sui Nigeriani in Italia?
Sono venuta in Italia da adolescente con i miei fratelli più piccoli per vivere con mia madre che aveva lasciato la Nigeria alla fine degli anni ’90 alla ricerca di ‘pascoli più verdì. È stata una decisione difficile per lei lasciare i suoi tre figli e il marito, ma a causa della nostra situazione finanziaria, ha dovuto affrontare questa situazione per provvedere alla sua famiglia.
Sia lei che mio padre si sono accordati di far lasciare la Nigeria a mia madre perché sentivano che le donne migranti avevano più opportunità degli uomini. È stata molto fortunata ad incontrare brave persone in Italia che l’hanno assistita nell’ottenere un lavoro e un permesso di soggiorno.
Vivo in Italia da anni ed è la mia seconda casa. È molto triste che molti nigeriani abbiano uno stereotipo dei nigeriani che vivono in Italia.
I nigeriani sono conosciuti in lungo e in largo per moltissime cose. Quelli più orgogliosi e felici rappresentano il nostro caro paese all’estero con eccezionali riconoscimenti accademici e sportivi, evidenti nel loro duro lavoro, apertura mentale e gentilezza, alcuni nigeriani ci hanno senza guadagnato la reputazione di frodi, criminalità e terrorismo.
Facciamo un passo indietro e ricordiamo che questioni irrisolte e pressanti in Nigeria come la disoccupazione, l’abuso di potere, la povertà, l’insicurezza, la mancanza di servizi di base umani e l’ingiustizia rimangono le ragioni per cui molti nigeriani entrano illegalmente in altri paesi, compresa l’Italia attraverso la rotta del Mediterraneo. Se questi problemi fossero risolti all’inizio, i nigeriani si sentirebbero a proprio agio nel nostro paese d’origine.
Gli stereotipi sono a volte divertenti, ma più spesso ridicoli, e ogni paese del mondo lotta contro gli stereotipi perché rubano le persone della loro individualità, spesso riducendo la loro umanità, quarto può anche portare a discriminazione e razzismo.
Ecco gli stereotipi sui nigeriani in Italia che non sono semplicemente veri.
Vendicata di droga.
“Tutti i nigeriani in Italia sono spacciatori di droga”
Questo stereotipo non è solo sbagliato, ma anche dannoso perché se siamo onesti, ogni paese ha il suo nascondiglio di criminali. Ciò non significa che non ci siano cittadini rispettosi della legge in quei paesi. O che ogni cittadino in quei paesi sia criminale. Il caso è lo stesso qui. Non tutti gli uomini nigeriani in Italia sono coinvolti nel traffico illecito di spaccio di droga. Molti uomini nigeriani qui rispettano le leggi e lavorano in diversi posti di lavoro non criminali.
Prostituzione.
“La maggior parte delle donne nigeriane in Italia sono prostitute”
Un altro errore usato stereotipicamente è che le donne nigeriane che vivono in Italia sono tutte prostitute. È abbastanza comune per gli indigeni nigeriani parlare di nigeriani italiani a causa del tasso “allarmante” di traffico di donne nigeriane da utilizzare come schiave del sesso.
“Massimo Lugli, un reporter di crimini con il quotidiano italiano La Repubblica, ha stimato che nell’aprile 2018 c’erano solo nove milioni di uomini che pagavano le prostitute in Italia e che gli affari valevano 90 milioni di euro al mese”. Quando comprate queste donne, state comprando dolore, tutta una rete di dolore. Non fatelo!, “ha detto Lugli alla tv italiana”.
Sebbene il tasso sia aumentato negli ultimi anni, le autorità italiane, le associazioni di assistenza sociale, le chiese, le organizzazioni senza scopo di lucro e le autorità competenti nigeriane si sono riunite per aiutare donne e bambini che sono stati sfruttati e trafficati in Italia per sfruttamento sessuale. Case sicure sono state create in Italia per la sicurezza, il rifugio e la riabilitazione anche delle donne nigeriane.
Nonostante ciò, non si traduce automaticamente nello stereotipo dei compatrioti nigeriani secondo cui “tutte le donne nigeriane in Italia sono prostitute”. È molto importante sapere che ci sono migliaia di donne nigeriane che vivono in Italia che eccellono al massimo livello in alcune delle migliori posizioni nel 21 ° secolo! Molte donne nigeriane in Italia lavorano anche diligentemente in lavori legali per sostenere le loro famiglie. Esistono diversi modi per promuovere l’istruzione in Italia, incluso l’apprendistato. Queste opportunità sono state sfruttate da ben intenzionate donne nigeriane che stanno facendo egregiamente bene!
Frode su Internet
“I nigeriani sono dei truffatori”
Forse il più popolare tra gli stereotipi, 5 su 10 nigeriani sono stati etichettati come “truffatori di Internet” nelle loro vite. Lo stereotipo è stato reso popolare dai numerosi schemi del principe nigeriano che erano popolari. Mentre è vero che alcuni giovani nigeriani commettono truffe su Internet, la percentuale di giovani che partecipano a questo è minima. Inoltre, molti truffatori su Internet preferiscono usare la Nigeria e l’identità internet nigeriana per coprire i loro schemi. Le autorità in Nigeria sono state rinforzate negli ultimi due anni per disciplinare in modo approfondito questi giovani scalmanati e metterli in ordine. Molti di loro sono stati catturati e puniti e la lotta continua a porre fine a questi schemi.
La maggior parte dei nigeriani sono cittadini davvero onesti, grandi lavoratori, rispettosi della legge e onesti e con uno scopo onesti di sostentamento. Questa affermazione è vera in tutto il mondo.
Questi stereotipi sono iniziati e incoraggiati dai compatrioti nigeriani spesso e non solo sono sbagliati, ma dannosi per la nostra identità, immagine e orgogliosa eredità africana di gentilezza, duro lavoro e amore. La verità è che questi stereotipi semplicemente non sono completamente validi e dovrebbero essere tutti fermati. Non tutti i nigeriani sono truffatori, spacciatori di droga e prostitute!
Dovremmo tutti, come collettivo, essere dedicati a costruire le nostre immagini, devolvere il nostro caro paese e proteggere le nostre culture piuttosto che abbatterle !!!

44 Comments

  1. Peter

    June 28, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Wonderful post!

  2. Emmanuel

    June 28, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    I really love reading your post! 👍

  3. Dawn

    June 28, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Wow! Interesting article. I guess everyone everywhere is dealing with some type of struggle. Stereotypes are rarely a good thing.

    1. bukolaorry

      June 28, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      Yes Dawn! Thanks for reading and have a blissful weekend❤

  4. Florence Ezekafor

    June 28, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Touching post. As a Nigerian who has stayed abroad, I understand 100%. I feel so bad when Nigerians abroad are being stereotyped by fellow Nigerians or by non- Nigerians. What they fail to understand is that there are 80% of responsible Nigerians doing genuine jobs and businesses, sweating hard abroad. The few bad eggs who are really bad eggs can’t spoil the good eggs ‘now’. ‘Haba!’

    1. bukolaorry

      June 28, 2019 at 10:00 pm

      You’re so right. It’s sad how people can create negative image of you without even knowing you. There are honest, diligent and hard working Nigerians in diaspora. We shouldn’t be judged because of where we live or where we come from. Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful weekend.

  5. ayansolaibukun

    June 29, 2019 at 12:07 am

    This is a really informative/instructive post. Stereotypes and baseless generalization are one and the same. They never breed positivity. It’s sad when the larger part of a unit is stigmatized for the inadequacies of a tiny fraction of it. There are no good or bad societies, people, tribe or country. However, in each of them, there are both good and bad ones. People should be treated on the basis of their personality and not the coloration of the clime they come from. Thanks for sharing this info.

    1. bukolaorry

      June 29, 2019 at 6:17 am

      Well said sir! Thank you so much for reading.

  6. Akinbinu john

    June 29, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Good write up and well educative. Keep it up

    1. bukolaorry

      June 29, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Thank you so much sir. God bless you

  7. Achief Victory

    June 29, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    More inspirations nd grace ma, my prayer is for the world to see Nigerians as very good people and not the other way round.

    1. bukolaorry

      June 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      Amen thank you so much sir.

      1. Oluwafunmilayo

        June 29, 2019 at 5:05 pm

        Very informative!
        Nigeria’s human rights record remains poor
        As a Nigerian living in Italy is very difficult because some think we’re all criminals!
        But when they see that you are integrated, you work and speak their language well, they change their mind! There’s a lot of problem many Nigerians are facing and living their home. The most significant human rights problems are: use of excessive force by security forces; impunity for abuses by security forces; arbitrary arrests; prolonged pretrial detention; judicial corruption and executive influence on the judiciary; rape, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and suspects; harsh and life‑threatening prison and detention centre conditions; human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labour; societal violence and vigilante killings; child labour, child abuse and child sexual exploitation; domestic violence; discrimination based on ethnicity, region and religion.
        That’s even why they criticize us a lot
        Anyway am proud to be a Nigerian thanks to Almighty God

      2. bukolaorry

        June 29, 2019 at 7:42 pm

        Wow you just gave me a lecture! Thank you so much for sharing. I just hope this changes people’s mindset about us and not stigmatize us because of where we come from. Thank you for reading oluwafunmilayo.

  8. Arebun Augustine

    June 30, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Nice one…keep it up. You are a patriotic Nigerian.

  9. labake's beauty blog

    July 1, 2019 at 11:01 am

    The most annoying one is when you are Benin… gosh it really makes me sad. It’s not just Italy, also Spain. Thanks for talking about it.

    1. bukolaorry

      July 1, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Benins are the most stereotyped here and it’s annoying how people stigmatize others without even knowing them in person. Thank you for reading and have a great week❤

      1. labake's beauty blog

        July 1, 2019 at 12:03 pm

        Exactly… I pray for one love and peace

  10. Ozioma Paul

    July 2, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I feel funny because I’ve unconsciously imbibed some of these stereotypes. This read helped me unlearn some things. Thanks for sharing this 💜💜💜

    1. bukolaorry

      July 2, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks for reading 🤗

  11. LaShawn Uchenna Ani

    July 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, my fiancé is Nigerian. Nigerians are the most beautiful people and they have a deep relationship with God. Their love for family runs deep and they take good care of their wife. Thank you for clearing the stereotypes. 🇺🇸 & 🇳🇬

    1. bukolaorry

      July 5, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      Thank you so much for taking your time to read my post. Nigerians are beautiful people, there are people who do horrible things but that doesn’t mean all Nigerians should be classified as the same. Thank you dear and God bless your family💕💕

      1. LaShawn Uchenna Ani

        July 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm

        Thank you same to you. ♥️ My fiancé Uchenna, feels the same way, it pains him the entire country is generalized by the bad people and not all the good people.

      2. bukolaorry

        July 5, 2019 at 12:27 pm

        I understand how he feels and I believe that writing about these things will help change people’s mindset! Thanks 😘

  12. Health & fitness

    July 6, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I love this article, thanks for uploading

      1. Health & fitness

        July 6, 2019 at 7:24 pm

        Loving your blog as well

      2. bukolaorry

        July 6, 2019 at 7:31 pm

        🌺🌺❤❤😘😘

  13. inhiscare753

    July 9, 2019 at 10:20 am

    This was definitely a much needed post to bring awareness and shed light.
    It is truly well written and informative.

    1. bukolaorry

      July 9, 2019 at 11:25 am

      Thank you so much for reading

      1. inhiscare753

        July 9, 2019 at 2:52 pm

        You are certainly welcome. The pleasure is all mine 🙏💜

  14. yinkadeniyi

    July 16, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    This was a good read. I enjoyed the way you started the piece at the beginning with a story about why you moved and that drew me in. As i read, I expected Prostitution to be one of the things on your list of stereotypes about Nigerians living in Italy and I think this cannot be far fetched because of the kind of stories the media has told over the years and while the stereotypes might not disappear any time soon, I believe it is important we tell our own stories. Good Read.

    1. bukolaorry

      July 16, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      You are so on point. Thank you so much for reading.

  15. Lola Famuyiwa

    August 3, 2019 at 3:46 am

    Great post! Thanks for shedding light on such an important topic.

    1. bukolaorry

      August 3, 2019 at 6:40 am

      Thank you so much for reading

  16. How true are the stereotypes of Nigerians in Italy? — Bukola Orry – Truth Troubles

    September 10, 2019 at 2:50 am

    […] via How true are the stereotypes of Nigerians in Italy? — Bukola Orry […]

  17. retrostank

    October 6, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    I had no idea that Italy had a high Nigerian population at all! You opened my eyes, thank you for telling your story!

    1. bukolaorry

      October 6, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      Thanks for reading 🙏🏾

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