Nigerians voted “Yes” in Scotland referendum

The Nigerian Vanguard, September 18, 2014

Some Nigerians who reside in Scotland said they voted “Yes” in the referendum because they were better off in an independent Scottish nation.

Mrs Macrine Haruna, a journalist, said “I voted yes because of the future of my children. With independence, citizenship for immigrants will be based on residency and birth and this will make it easier for children born here. Also, the Scottish policies on health and education makes it easy for people to access the National Health Scheme, and to acquire free education up to university level.”

Similarly, Mrs Ama Shallangwa, a vertinary doctor, said she voted in favour of Scottish independence “because Scotland has an aging population so they are embracing immigrants. Alex Salmon, Scotland’s first minister and chief campaigner for independence, loves immigrants, and I know policies will be implemented in our favour,” Shallangwa said.

However, other Nigerians expressed concern over the referendum, saying it may not be easy for Scotland to adjust after being part of the UK for 300 years.

Mr Amos Yakubu, an economist, said “a lot of people here do not understand the implication of the independence. With this autonomy, it means Scotland will cease to use the British Pound Sterling, which remains the highest currency in the world. The newly independent Scotland will not be immediately absorbed by the EU, and it means Nigerians with UK visa will need a Scottish visa to visit Scotland. Also, even the Scottish people do not know the huge setbacks this will bring in their pension schem.”

Yakubu said that majority of the people supporting the independence were the youths who thought it was fashionable or patriotic to support the referendum.

More than 10,000 Nigerians reside in Scotland, with majority of them working as professionals in various sectors, while others are students in various institutions.

The huge national community in Scotland accounts for the second largest immigrant settlement after the Polish community.

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