Why Nigerians In America Come Home To Marry

By Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

The United States Embassy has data indicating the number of Nigerians who come to join their spouses in the US every year. In this instance, no attempt was made to collect such data.

However, several trends were deduced from several exchanges that took place with friends and friends-of-friends and acquaintances in several enclaves in the US. Some of the patterns that emerged include the fact that no fewer than 310 folks embark on this voyage -- of which eighty percent are women. Of this, about two-third are Christians with post-secondary education; and two-third are between the ages of 25 and 37.Of the base number, eighty-five percent are from the southern region, with eighty-seven percent appearing to come from financially disadvantaged homes.

What is true of the US also seem to be true of Canada, the United Kingdom and various European Union nations. What’s more, the percentages of Nigerians who go overseas to join their spouses, fiancé and fiancée have increased twenty-five percent in the last two decades. It is instructive to note that the immigration process can be trying and costly. Frankly, it is a process that demands a lot of resourcefulness, wits and perseverance. It is a process that, more often than not, results in rejection and depression. Even so, many and many more are willing to undertake this mentally and physically draining exercise.

But why do Nigerians go though this tortuous immigration process? Why do Nigerian women, living in Nigeria, agree to marrying men they, in most cases, hardly know? And why do Nigerian men go home to marry instead of marrying the women they’ve romanced here in the US. After all, most of the women who are already in the US are well-educated, well-read and well-traveled; they are well mannered and have, in most cases, proven their trustworthiness. These are women of two worlds: they know Africa and also understand the Western society. But in spite of their advantages and pluses, the vast majority of these women are likely to lose their boyfriends to women back home.

In significant numbers, Nigerian men would rather go home to marry the “unknown and the greenhorn” rather than marry the proven and the reliable. Granted that a thousand men have a thousand reasons for going home to marry, there are common threads as to why they do what they do: (1) because they can; (2) most men are under the illusion that women back home are innocent, un-spoilt and virginal; (3) it is an ego-boosting exercise; (4) it allows some men to mask their shortcomings since the women who are already in the US can tell where these men stand on the social and economic ladder. Additionally, some men want their women to look up to them since it makes them appear more than what and who they really are. Other men go home to marry because, as some have stated, “Nigerian girls in the US are rotten, too exposed, too independent and/or too aggressive.”

I am reminded of a friend in Washington D.C, who once told me that there was nothing he could teach his girlfriend in terms of romance and sex and everyday reality. Sex, for instance, was awe inspiring and earthshaking. In the end though, he went home to marry a “village girl,” who pretended for a while before proving that “everything a Yankee can do, a Naija woman can also do.” Shortly thereafter, he also realized he was her one-way ticket out of the misery and poverty that have come to characterize Nigeria. In any case, the majority of such marriages start collapsing within 18-months. The American society has a way of Oprahlizing girls from Bauchi, Timbuktu and Aba.

And of course there are the traditionalists, the purists: men who don’t mind dating and/or cohabitating with girls from other ethnic groups. But when it is time to start a family, they’d rather a girl from their own ethnic groups. In spite of modernity/westernization, the majority of Nigerian men living in the US prefer women of the same ethnic group. Ethnicity, as it turned out, is a superseding factor when it comes to marriage.

When it is all said and done, the Nigerian male can be perplexing. His life is full of contradictions. In so many ways, he is a wounded animal as a result of his historical past. There was a time when he was the primary breadwinner, head of the household. He was the man who moved mountains. But that was a time long gone. He misses the past; he misses the era when most men were sheriffs. And frankly, the modern era have not been kind to men (particularly those who have refused to assimilate or acculturate). And even though the outside world is depriving him of his manhood, he has found a way to make parts of his world his playground. In this playground, he is the sole captain. Or so he thought! To make his thoughts a reality, he marries a greenhorn.

More often than not, most of these marriages are not based on love or affection. Most are not even like the marriages of yester-years: a union between two families. On the part of the greenhorns, it is mostly about the need to escape the prevailing poverty and despair that has engulfed the country. Most of these women are seeking a way out of the misery that Nigeria has become. Therefore, when presented with the opportunity to hop, they pack and run! It should be noted here and now that it is not all the women who come to join their husbands fit this profile as a good number come for the right reasons.

In the former group, most that came to join their husbands become disillusioned, disappointed and unhappy and are likely to seek divorce within 3 years. As for the men, well, some will plead with, cajole or trick their wives into going into the nursing profession. The nursing profession, they believe, is a sure avenue for making money and living the good life. Be it in Houston, Seattle, Dallas, Miami, New York or every where in between, Nigerian and African nurses abound. They are everywhere working mostly the night and graveyard shifts, toiling day and night and away from their husbands and children just to make ends meet. With no time to smell the roses or to wonder at the beauties that surround them, they become strangers in the world they live in.

In the end, a simple question becomes germane: if you find a woman you love and respect and can get along with, what is the point returning to the continent to find the inexperienced? If you already have a woman, here in the US, who makes your heart skip beats and you fancy her worldview, what’s the point in abandoning her? And after several years of putting up with your eccentricity, infantile behavior and messy bedside manners, what’s the point dumping her for the greenhorn?

Sabella Abidde, a product of Government Secondary School, Ilorin, Kwara State, resides in Alabama. He can be reached at Sabidde@yahoo.com and he is also on Facebook.

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i agree. i am an immigrant and that is what i did to my black american ex husband. woman "do not get mad get it allllllllllllll."

You have got really bad

You have got really bad judgement, Mr Patriarch Sapele water.

It's an opinion piece, Mr.

It's an opinion piece, Mr. And for one, it is very well written. You don't need information about his family to verify his/her validity. We live in a real world where values should be respected and identity is not monolithic. For instance: who is a Nigerian? with over two hundred languages (minus dialects) and other affinities like gender, religion, Class, education etc; we are certainly diversified.

Pere salo, there is no one way of looking at the world. You need to wake up. Cheerio!

Finding a spouse

Having worked at a matchmaking service where 85% of the members are Nigerians (both home and abroad) I feel priviledged to have spoken to over a thousand Nigerians seeking life partners and over 70% of them care more about the logistics of dating the individual alot more than they care about where the person is based. What I mean by this is that if a guy who is based in Canada registers, he'd ask to meet a lady who lives nearer to him or not too far a plane ride away; however they will also consider people who live alot further away once that person is prepared to put in the effort to make their meeting possible. So regardless of their stating a preference for pa erson near by, once they are convinced that they will get to spend time with the one further away, they'll consider it.
It applies to both men and women - you agree to make your own way over, they'll consider you with much ease.

Less than 10% of our clients are adamant in their request not to be introduced to Nigerians based in particular locations.

What I have found to be more important to many of our clients is the persons walk with God, looks, spoken english, locations they'd consider living in and where they are at in their career and then you can talk about location; And I'd say it goes in the order i've written it.

@John-Mark Iyi

@ John-Mark Iyi u are a FOOL i couldnt help but reply you a foolish idiot u should tell ur mother to position herself with ur useless father so that she will be married since thats what makes her a human being so ur stupid father can hit ur useless mother like a dog and tell her she can not fight for equality infact u re a breed of ignorance i shouldnt be talking to u

I agree with u okuchukwu 9ja

I agree with u okuchukwu 9ja men here are lazy and should improve themselves (keep in mind this does not include nursing) and do well for themselves I am sure the women wont treat them so bad generally Nigerian men want to be in control often times the women is the bread winner of the house ok o my father was bread winner but never commanded my mother or called the shorts at everything that happens in the house but 9ja men want to call the shorts control the women yet they have nothing to their name ppl always want to say oh money is not everything true nothing in life is everything infact life itself is flaky but if money is not everything how come the men want to control it and make decisions on how it should be spent even though the woman has it all

lol Idi I am glad she left ur

lol Idi I am glad she left ur a$$ u probably forced her to go to nursing school so she can take care of you good for u go bring village girl now lets hope u come out of that one alive loser!!!

Let me quess Mr PHD by

Let me quess Mr PHD by culture u mean the one that you will tell what to do and she would bow down for you couse u have a PHD like its a freaking big deal you sound like a soldier who goes to war and say well i have a gun so everybody run if you dont fight and shut ur gun is as good as nothing so stop making a big deal of your PHD because ur mother gave birth to u just as she was given birth to so u are not or will not be treated like a king and she be the slave when we are not in the 1400 century Culture is over rated I am sure if you respect the women here and respect yourself they will respect u but when u come up with the culture nonsense to make them bow to u then u need a reality check yourself


U HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!! they try it with the ones here want to be controlling and expecting the world from the women and when it doesnt work out they go home to cajole those that dont have an option.


u are right the problem with this is that most Nigerian men want to be in control so even if they find a woman here of cause she might be independent doing very well for herself and a Nigerian man meet her while she is up the lady wants her to sufer with him and makes her feel like he is doing her a favor by marrying her the women of cause would get nasty so their only choice is to go home and get married to a novice they send her to nursing school and collect all her paycheck afterall they where there before she became a nurse (which in my opinion the idea is slavery anyway).

To each their own

You cannot use assume that all westernized women are bad, and all Nigerian village girls are good. Each person should marry whoever they fall in love with, with full understanding that marriage, like everything in life, is a give and take arrangement. No one has it all. You make a choice based on what you are willing to put up with, and what you stand to gain (cost-benefit ratio).
In my experience though in America, African women are the most difficult to date. They pretend too much, are generally much less mature when it comes to relationships, and are often brittle. Whether this reflects cultural upbringing is still a matter of conjecture.
As a man, I need companionship, support and children from my spouse, and many women from different parts of the world can comfortably provide those.

...very consistent with

...very consistent with Sahara ideology (Parochialism). ...still looking forward to the day Sahara will come up with a well researched piece (e.g free from personal bias). Poor quality!!! Makes no sense here!

...very consistent with

...very consistent with Sahara ideology (parochialism). Still looking forward to the day Sahara will present a thoroughly researched and clearly thought-out piece.

the article

Bro, you have spoken well. I happen to live in the US too and I can tell you that a lot of marriages here are simply endurance not love.

Some men marry for convenience, looking for a nurse or something of that nature. very stupid idea. Guess what, I have come to realize that the world in which I live in have moved a bit forward... I would marry here, race, tribe notwithstanding. I will marry only a woman I love

Stupid and Dump Article..Why Nigerians (US) come home to marry??

Would the writer please tell us about his family , if any, his wife, nationality/tribe, children and especially how he met his wife. How long has he been married. how many children? I think the writer has an emotional problem or inferiority complex talking to modern Nigerian women.. It does not hold water.. its a useless article..another useless liberal arts thinking.. very illogical.


We all love to say bad things about Nigeria.i have lived in america,and i know what ladies there are like.the truth is,we can only advise people to go with their instinct.there are people that have partners before travelling and decide to bring their partners.that is an honorable thing.

On the other hand if you meet someone in america that you can live with fine for you.But you must know that it doesn't work for everybody.In a place where one is looked down upon simply because you just came into america(despite being a well educated person that lived well in nigeria).We must excuse some people who feel that someone back home will treat them without prejudice.

And to those who talk about runs and nigerian girls.we are all nigerians.shame on anyone that talks bad about any of us.we should appreciate all nigerians.and dont assume that because you live in america you know anything or are more educated than my sisters back home.from my personal experience there are a lot of ignorant people (nigerian or not)living in western countries including america.

great commentary, Sabidde.

great commentary, Sabidde. great to get true insight about Nigerian men from a NIGERIAN MAN

(1) Marriage is a convenant

(1) Marriage is a convenant between a man, a woman and God. Most times we leave God out of it and it is doomed from the start.

(2) Marriage is a reconciliation of two diferent family up-bringings. It follows that the less to reconcile (tribe, religion, culture, nationality, class and the all important taste in physical appearance) the more chances of survival. People should be encouraged to chose their likes in order to have few issues to reconcile. The inevitable unknowns revealed after marriage is enough reconciliation for a life time. We should minimize the obvious.

(3) Any union based on ulterior motive and false pretence (taxi driver claiming to be doctor, seeking greener pasture, economic betterment, ticket out of the country, nurse) instead of truth (love, partner for life, family, procreation)is doomed to fail.

May God help us all.


This writer remind me of the lyrics of that great sun etch by the meastro, Abami eda HIMSELF ! after his own sougon abroad. Its unfortunate most NIGERIAN ladies miss the mark unce they are abroad. They 4get the issue here is about culture, which as all agreed the west cherish so much from Africa. Their is what is called a virtuos womanhood. Not the fleeting pop culture, no holds bare kind of life style. The advise is that, from a pure Nigerian Upbringing and Culture that is admired and revered......If a woman is a wife material, no matter the challenge life may bring, she'd be the premier league. Men would beat the part to her doorstep, unfurtunately they are limited in supply....So rather than complain why not seek the holy grail, and avoid future wahala.

Re: The writer took so much time

@Chidi A said, "While I'm fully in support of marriages driven by "LOVE",I will make haste to remark that "LOVE"isn't what makes these marriages to last but a resolution by both parties to stay married.If it's all about the so called "LOVE" American marriages wouldn't record a high divorce rate." Here Chidi completely misunderstands the meaning of love. There's quite nothing superior to it if you truly understand it. The first effect and evidence of love is harmony; another word for it is congruency. This is the first fruit, and it isn't schemed and engineered, but it bursts forth spontaneously of its own accord. The others, as I've stated before, are mutual respect, civility, understanding, caring and looking out for one another, accord, intuitive relay, etc. These fruits just manifest on their own. Do not think Chidi that most Americans know what love is.


There seem a few facts lost in both the write-up and comments that I wish to attempt bridging

1 Love=Commitment. "The butterflies in the stomach" is an after joy of making the right choice. Whenever the reverse is the case it becomes LUST.

2 Over 80% of Africans have a Utopian/false opinion on the true state of affairs "abroad". The earlier immigrants and even some current ones give false and oftentimes overestimated values on what in actually on ground.

3" “Nigerian girls in the US are rotten, too exposed, too independent and/or too aggressive.” I live in the UK so I can confirm the same applies here. Africans are worse behaved than the indigenes that are the novel harbingers of sexual immorality.

4 When the imports get here, they morph; corrupted by what they find on ground. Most abandon Canaan for Sodom & Gomorrha - greener pastures. By the time they reach the end of the mirage, its too late.

Bewitched by lies and deception I must conclude

I dont see the point of

I dont see the point of Nigerian men going back home to marry, infact women in the diaspora are better and more capable of handling the Western lifestyle. An average Nigerian uni girl has been doing "runs" with old married men unlike the Diaspora student who has to work, pay her bills and cant organize a "run" as american men arent as corrupt like the old married goons in nigeria. The Nigerian woman back home is not as magical as some of u men love to believe. I'd rather stick to the ones in the diaspora.




Be Nice To Yourself

Be nice to yourself and marry well, which means you must marry for love only. In other words, marry the one you love that loves you too. Everything else will fall into place - mutual respect, understanding, compassion, civility, harmony, communication, fidelity, watching out for one another, bearing each others burden, fulfillment, healthy and bright children, God's grace, and missing nothing that warrants looking elsewhere, etc. It's possible because, I'm in one, and so are many other fortunate people too. Then, it wouldn't matter where your spouse comes from.

False life is also responsible

Another very important reason left out here,is that most men go home from the US to marry nurses, that can later help them pay up their huge loans used to aquire houses and trucks,which in most cases are beyond their income.

sahara this article holds no water

few Nigerian girls overseas remain natural, we marry values in Nigeria, I am one I have a Phd, and still went home to marry, even if my wife is troublesome she has values, african values that an americanized nigerian woman has lost touch with,

the growth of a woman is the pride of her husband,this article is shortsighted, needs more research and easily jumps into conclusion without a good sample study.

Dear sahara we work with facts its time you hire a quatitative analyst to do the job since u guys are doing empirical studies

The writer took so much time

The writer took so much time and patience to paint a very dark picture of a strong institution that is facing challenges from globalization.I just have a few question for the writer and anybody that cares. What is culture and does it play any role in marriages around the world? The way and manner in which Nigerian men in US marry; is it different from the pattern of marriage in Lagos or Abuja?If it is different how far is the deviation from these lifestyles back in Nigeria? How easy is it for someone to throw away or modify a culture that one has assimilated for the first 25-30yrs of one's life? Or wasn't it necessary to look at the age at which these Nigerian men are hitting the US soil? I'm not making a case for this marriage pattern but the view expressed in this write-up is misleading and at best very narrow.Look around the US and you will see this same trend in other cultures - India and most middle eastern states.The only thing that is very true here is the worrisome divorce rate among Nigerian marriages which is readily attributable to the generational gap between spouses in these marriages. While I'm fully in support of marriages driven by "LOVE",I will make haste to remark that "LOVE"isn't what makes these marriages to last but a resolution by both parties to stay married.If it's all about the so called "LOVE" American marriages wouldn't record a high divorce rate.

Nigerian Men US can marry the way they want without anybody trying to rationalize it - simple.

@WISEGUY e be like say you

@WISEGUY e be like say you are speaking from experience o. Kai, your description na fire! LOL.

But anyway bros, I don't think where the marriage is contracted will save you. When you are married you are married. That American judge will teach you that you are not in Africa anymore when divorce time comes. Going home to marry will not save your ass. Just a find a GOOOOOOOD women and avoid all the wahala. And PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. Why do you think American men kill their wives, they don't take shit like African or Black men who will beat you and give you a black eye, they will just send you to your maker. No need to waste time.

Can someone tell me the value

Can someone tell me the value of this piece of badly written article??????


Marriage in America is cheap, in Nigeria it is an expensive affair , then the Divorce is something else in America, very very expensive, even when the Lady is the Guilty party ,you will pay through the nose for her mistakes and she will enjoy your money with her new lover and dont expect any mercy from her Lawyer (and yours also) in front of an American Judge when your name is Yaro ; Chukwu or Dimeji and you have some good letters like M.D. ; PhD R.N. etc after your name.
And if she is heavy busted chest wise....you are in deeper soup especially when she comes to divorce court wearing a tight sweater/blouse close fitting and 2 sizes smaller with her fat nipple pre rubbed with "hot motion lotion" to keep it erect all day through the court proceedings day after day, everyday.
All the judge will see and remember most when he WRITES and delivers his "Judgement"(YOUR EXCECUTION WARRANT) are her erect fat nipple's throught the undersized blouse and see through Bra with correct uplift.Trust me , you are fucked big time; and he will help her clean you out Nigerian or American woman it makes no difference.
Keep it simple and go to Nigeria with or without a prenup and you will thank me for this advice.......even your American sweetheart, take her home to marry her in Nigeria.....it is always easier to separate when it is contracted at home N300,000.00 LEGAL FEES VS $50,000 to $100,000 in the US.If pikin no dey involved no alimony in Nigeria.In America, even your pension is fair game.All the Judge will see is her "paw paw"...AND HEY YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE THEY CAN MEET.When you pour water foward you will step on cool ground.
A word is enough for the wise.BYE and say bye bye to your money if you think I am wrong.Pay less up front or pay more on the way out.Choice is yours.