November 18, 2019

Winnipeg
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Winnipeg Nigerian community to honour local contributors

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS </p><p>Elizabeth Lawal is one of six Nigerian-Canadians being honoured Saturday night by Nigerian cultural organizations for their contributions to Manitoba.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Elizabeth Lawal is one of six Nigerian-Canadians being honoured Saturday night by Nigerian cultural organizations for their contributions to Manitoba.

Members of Winnipeg's Nigerian community for the first time Saturday are honouring the contribution and example set by its members who immigrated to Canada.

"We chose people who we knew grew up in Nigeria with Nigerian values, and when they came to Canada, learned the Canadian values and have made a contribution," said Florence Okwudili, who's chairing Nigeria's 59th Independence Day celebration at Canad Inns Polo Park.

"They're serving the Canadian public in various professions and they're doing well," she said, adding the problem is, too few people know about them. "People are drawn to negative views about our country. It's up to us to change that narrative."

Canadians know about problems in Nigeria, such as Boko Haram terror group kidnapping school girls, and hear about situations such as the Alberta judge, who, in a decision, ripped into the "garbled" Nigerian accent of an expert witness at the trial of parents accused in their son's death.

"That speaks to the many obstacles facing us as immigrants in this country," said Okwudili, who came to Canada in 2000. "And this is, also, why we are so proud to highlight these individuals."

The six Nigerian Canadians have lived in Winnipeg for a number of years, risen to many challenges, and their stories are inspirational, she said.

Many Winnipeggers have roots in Nigeria. In the 2016 census of Canada, 3,450 people in the city identified their ethnic origin as Nigerian. Another 1,540 identified as Yoruba, Ibo and Edo — tribes found in Nigeria

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Reporter

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

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