1990s Bradford

1991 Nigerian Friendship Society

Nigerians settled in Bradford from the 1960s onwards, often after coming to study at the University or finding work in the region. Many have gone on to make significant contributions to the district such as Professor Uduak Archibong MBE, Academic leader and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Bradford University.

In 1991 the Nigerian Friendly Society was established in Bradford under the leadership of David Odunukwe. Other presidents include Mazi Uche H Ukandi, Gus Igbebuna, Wale Bakare, professor Uduak Archibong, Kathryn Tola Awe-Cunningham, Oweye Olbanji and Christopher Okunkplor. The group was renamed the Nigeria Community Association Bradford (NCAB) and in 2018 produced a booklet called Nigerian Voices.

This describes how Nigeria, one of the largest countries in Africa and with over 300 tribal groups and over 400 languages spoken, was once under British colonial rule and has many long standing links with this country. An example of this is when Mr Aigbokhae discovered Nigerian artefacts near Bradford at the now closed Red House Museum. He describes how his daughter pointed out items on display from Benin, in Nigeria. ‘When I looked, there were some trinkets and items used for coronation ceremonies, sacred items used once in a lifetime… very symbolic to the Edo people’.

Sacred items mostly made of bronze were looted by British forces in Nigeria as part of a brutal invasion in 1897. These treasures were then scattered to private collections and museums across the globe.

Benin Bronzes at the British Museum

After years of campaigning by groups , in 2021 a museum in Germany has agreed to return hundreds of the Benin bronzes to a new museum in Nigeria. This has put pressure on museums in the UK to also return artefacts looted from Nigeria.

1993 Tasmin Archer

In 1993 pop singer, Tasmin Archer from Bradford released her first album, Great Expectations. The single “Sleeping Satellite,” reached number one in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Later that year Tasmin went on to perform to a rapturous home crowd in Bradford at St George’s Hall and win a Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act.