Nigeria's Relationship with the West :7 Things
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Opinions - March 30, 2023

7 Things that Don’t Make Sense about Nigeria’s Relationship with the West

Nigeria’s relationship with the West has been marked by both cooperation and conflict. However, her dependence on the west for investment, trade and aid are several aspects of this relationship that do not make sense. 

This dependence has had a number of negative consequences on a nation regarded as a major economic and political power in Africa. Some of these consequences include a lack of control over its own policies and the exploitation of its resources by foreign corporations. 

In this article, we will explore seven things that do not make sense about Nigeria’s relationship with the West. Let’s get in:

The legacy of colonialism

Nigeria was a British colony until its independence in 1960, and many scholars argue that the legacy of colonialism still affects the country’s relationship with the West. For example, Nigeria’s economy was structured to serve the interests of the colonizers, and some argue that this legacy continues to this day. 

Asides from the economy, the country’s political system was established during the colonial period to suit the needs of the colonial administration. One must also not forget to talk about Nigeria’s educational system. The British established an educational system designed to produce a class of educated Africans who would serve as middlemen between the colonial administration and the local population. This system has persisted till today, with Nigeria’s education system still heavily focused on mechanical learning and memorization, rather than critical thinking and problem-solving.

Economic dependence

Despite being a major oil-producing nation, Nigeria remains economically dependent on the West. This is because the majority of the country’s oil exports go to countries in the West.  This dependence has made the country vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices and has led to an over-reliance on a single commodity. 

Also, Nigeria relies heavily on foreign aid and loans from Western countries and institutions. While this aid may be targeted as supporting or helping the nation, it creates room for dependency. Another form of economic dependence will be the trade imbalance. Nigeria imports manufactured goods more than it export which has contributed to a lack of economic diversification. The nation practically depends on the west for almost everything.

Western intervention

Nigeria has experienced several instances of Western intervention, including military interventions and economic sanctions. Also, the transition to democracy was reportedly sponsored by pressures from the West. This pressure included diplomatic visits, economic aid, and the imposition of travel bans on Nigerian officials who were seen as threats to Nigeria’s democracy.

Another sad reality is the marginalization of the Niger Delta region by multinational oil companies from the West. Some Nigerians have criticised these interventions as being motivated by Western interests rather than the interests of the Nigerian people. While some interventions have promoted democracy and human rights, others have contributed to instability and the erosion of Nigeria’s sovereignty.


Despite being ranked repeatedly as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, western countries continue to do business with Nigerians. This partnership has allowed the looting of Nigeria’s resources continues unabated. This is evident in the repatriation of the Abacha loot to the federal government from the US. Also, worthy of note is the recently repatriated $1 million embezzled by the former governor of Bayelsa state Late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

Perceived cultural differences

There are some cultural differences between Nigeria and the West that have led to misunderstandings and stereotypes. For example, some Westerners may view Nigerian cultural practices as primitive or superstitious, while some Nigerians may view Western values as materialistic and individualistic. 

It is also important to state that while Nigeria sees the West as a civilization goddess that has little or no regard for her culture, the Westerners have on various occasions tried to speak Nigeria’s languages and cook some of their local dishes.

Immigration policies

Many Nigerians have migrated to Western countries for economic opportunities, but Western immigration policies have often been restrictive and discriminatory. This has led to tensions between Nigeria and the West over issues such as visa applications and deportation. 

In June 2022, about 38 Nigerians were deported from the UK for some immigration-related offences.  While this is sad, it brings the relationship of Nigeria with the West under scrutiny. Why sustain a relationship with a country that doesn’t entirely seek your best interest?

Brain Drain

Another thing that does not make sense about Nigeria’s relationship with the West is the brain drain. Most of Nigeria’s brightest minds are excellently leading different sectors in the West, while the country is left with few inexperienced hands. The brain drain has had a significant impact on the nation’s development as various sectors, especially the healthcare sector have been plunged into a state of comatose. 

The painful part is how our leaders celebrate Nigerians in the diaspora without providing the right environment for them to thrive in their home country. A good example will be Tobi Amusan, an athlete who made history by winning the 100 metres hurdles gold at the World Athletics Championships. Amusan who was greatly celebrated by the Nigerian government studied at the University of Texas, El Paso. As a freshman, she became the second athlete for her university to become a C-USA Female track athlete of that year. She continued competing for her school before competing for Nigeria in the Rio Olympic Games.

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