Australia is gradually becoming another home or Mecca for Nigerians who are seeking greener pastures in a bid for a better financial situation.
So many reasons may be factored in on why some Nigerians prefer to leave their country, which of course includes the epileptic nature of the power supply, increase in the poverty rate, low employment levels, and poor educational standards.
However, if things are done in the right way, it is the wish of some Nigerian ex-pats to remain and make life worth living in their motherland regardless of the struggle.
Nevertheless, many individuals have devised different means of travelling to Australia without looking at the distance or adaptability.
According to reports, the Nigerian population in Australia has been increasing rapidly. The 2011 Census noted there are 4,519 Nigerian-born people in Australia. The population doubled since the previous census in 2006.
The vast majority are skilled and educated, with 82.4% of the Nigerian-born aged 15 years and over possessing higher non-school qualifications, compared to 55.9% of the Australian population.
An NOIPolls survey found that 100% of Nigerians surveyed with relatives or friends living in Australia perceive Nigerians as having better living conditions in foreign countries. The only other continent with a similar response (of 100%) from Nigerians was South America.
One third of Nigerians in Australia live in Sydney, and one quarter reside in Melbourne. Half of Australia’s Igbo-speakers live in Sydney. There are many thousands of speakers of Nigerian languages, particularly Igbo, Yoruba and Fulfulde.
Former Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, Nigerian High Commissioner in Australia in 2013 revealed that the Nigerian community in Australia is a great community. It is a community of skilled migrants and has the highest number of skilled professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers – and they are all in various parts of Australia.
“Australia has about six states and then there is one other area which is the tourists’ island area. We have Nigerians in all these places like in the state of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Southern Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Queensland” Olukanni said.
Interestingly, in September 2012, Australia and Nigeria signed an MOU, covering political, economic, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation. Senior Officials’ Talks took place in December 2013, in Canberra and are scheduled for 2016 in Abuja. Australia imports approximately 10% of its crude petroleum oil from Nigeria.
Despite Nigerians dominance in Australia, it has not solved their financial needs even though a few still live comfortably. Issues of drugs cases, cyber crime and equitable treatment of citizens regardless of their color still remain a nightmare for some Nigerians in the “Luck Country.”
Low percentages of Nigerians living in Australia engage in mini-trading such as cloth selling in addition to their primary sources of income because they can’t afford the cost of living.
The Nigerian government has been widely criticized for not doing enough to look into the plight of Nigerians residing in some of these countries, most especially in Australia.
Importantly, unfavorable government policies have impacted negatively on Nigerians who are supposed to be reaping from the true fruits of democracy.
It may be a good idea if the government of President Muhammadu Buhari could fashion out a structure that would create a sustainable livelihood for Nigerians in Nigeria.