Nigerians send nearly €500m a year home from Ireland
NIGERIAN migrants here are now sending nearly half-a-billion euro back home each year. World Bank figures reveal that €468m in 'remittances' was sent from Ireland to Nigeria in 2011.
That's an average of more than €26,000 for each of the 17,642 Nigerian nationals in Ireland, including children.
This is far in excess of the sums sent home by Poles from Ireland. They sent $224m (€174m), even though there are more than 122,000 Polish people in the country.
The issue will be raised during a Dail debate this week on the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) that are being rushed through in advance of the forthcoming G8 summit in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh next month.
Fianna Fail's justice spokesman, Niall Collins, will raise the issue of Nigerian remittances with Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
He said: "It raises a number of questions. There may be legitimate and valid reason for the extremely large amounts of money being sent from Ireland to Nigeria, compared with the amounts sent by other nationalities.
"On the face of it, it has to be questioned. I will be asking the minister to investigate and find out why."
Monies sent from Ireland by foreign migrants are three times higher than the amount of money being sent home to Ireland by the Irish abroad.
World Bank statistics show that Irish people living in other countries sent more than $750m (€560m) back home in 2011, but foreign workers here sent remittances of $2.4bn (€1.8bn) home during the same year.
The largest amount of money leaving Ireland was to Britain, at over €529m in 2011. This was followed by Nigeria (€468m) and Poland at (€174m).
Globally, remittances are hugely important to developing countries and, despite the economic downturn, they have grown dramatically in recent years.
The last World Bank figures showed that in 2011 remittances to poorer countries totalled €289bn. Total remittances worldwide are estimated at €390bn.