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Hinduism spread to Nigeria mainly by immigration of Hindus from India and by way of Hare Krishna missionaries. Sindhis were the first to arrive in Nigeria in the early part of the nineteenth century. Initially, they were primarily engaged in trading but gradually, while retaining their interest in trading, they ventured into other fields such as manufacturing and professional services. In succeeding decades, they made substantial investments, aggregating more than US$ 4 billion. In this way, they engaged themselves actively in the textiles sector, as well as in pharmaceuticals, fishing and engineering industries.
India and Nigeria were both part of the British Empire. Indians, both Muslims and Hindus, migrated to Great Britain's African colonies to work on the railroads. However, most of the Indian population, along with other foreigners from across the Empire, fled to either the United Kingdom, the United States, or back to their country of origin during the Nigerian Civil War.
Starting from the 1970s, the Nigerian government and several private firms began to hire Indian doctors, teachers, engineers and other professionals. Towards the end of the 1980s, many of the Indian experts returned to India when, with the substantial reduction in the country’s oil revenues, the country began to face severe economic problems. In spite of this, as many as 217,000 Indian expatriates live in Nigeria.
The Government of Nigeria follows a liberal and non-discriminatory policy in the granting of citizenship to resident foreign nationals. As many as 8,000 Nigerians of Indian origin live in the country. Altogether, including Nigerians of Indian origin and expatriates, 25,000 Hindus live in Nigeria. Most reside in Lagos.
Nigerian Hindu boy with Tilaka on forehead
Some native Nigerians converted to Hinduism mainly due to efforts of ISKCON missionaries. Although most Nigerian Hindus are based in Lagos (Ikorodu, Shomolu, Alimosho, Victoria Island), others are also found in Ibadan (where the Sri Sathya Sai Seva (Service) Organization of Sathya Sai Baba was established in 1972)
Sri Sathya Sai Seva (Service) Organization was established in 1972 as a public, charitable trust to carry out the mission of Sathya Sai Baba; providing drinking water, medicine and education to everyone free of charge. A central meeting place named Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre was built in Ibadan and registered as a non-profit spiritual organization. The site was leased for 99 years on April 19 with funding from various donors. In Lagos, Sai activities were started in a private house on Victoria Island.
- Kenyans247. "Hinduism in Nigeria - Kenyans247". www.kenyans247.com. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
- NRI Archived 2012-02-06 at the Wayback Machine
- "Day Hare Krishna Came to Town". WorldWide Religious News. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
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