Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
29 August 2018

John Humphrys suggests Nigerian woman who lives in Nigeria should “go back” home

“I don’t live here actually.”

By Media Mole

The UK’s relationship with Nigeria is under the spotlight as Theresa May visits the country on the second leg of her trade mission in Africa.

Interviewing the Nigerian filmmaker and London-trained lawyer Bolanle Austen-Peters about this, the BBC’s most over-employed dinosaur John Humphrys suggested she should “go back” home. Even though she lives in Nigeria.

Austen-Peters was arguing that there is “a disconnect” between Britain and Nigeria, and there has been “no relationship at all” between the two countries, despite colonial history and the Commonwealth, which she said doesn’t bring “privileges in terms of trade, in terms of immigration” to Nigeria.

Bolanle Austen-Peters: The truth of the matter is the UK is trying to get back through this relationship they’re trying to build now. And I’m sure that a lot of people will view it with scepticism.

John Humphrys: Oh?

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

BAP: Yes, absolutely, because nothing has been going on for so long. And then all of a sudden Brexit happens, and then we find the UK trying to come back now and forge relationships that really were separated for a long time. That’s the way most people would view this.

Content from our partners
Transport is the core of levelling up
The forgotten crisis: How businesses can boost biodiversity
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery

[John Humphrys asks another guest Ben Okri’s view on this]…

JH: Well, you know what, tell me what you think about this Bolanle, you were born there of course, you trained as a lawyer, you came to this country. Maybe you should go back?

BAP: Yes, I don’t live here actually.

JH: Oh, you don’t live here!

BAP: I’m on vacation, yes. I’m on vacation and I certainly don’t want to live here. The truth is…

JH: Forgive me, you are actually living still in Nigeria?

BAP: Absolutely, I’m here on vacation. And I do a lot here, I bring my plays to London… We have a culture that is very vibrant and very rich and we’re people who are very proud. For some reason, we have a legacy that we cannot erase, a relationship with the British Empire or as it were. The truth is if you have a relationship with somebody, you would expect that you would have mutual respect and you would have mutual understanding for the needs of those people. But I think that along the line, something broke. If Britain wants to come back, we are willing to welcome them, but it has to be in a meaningful way, and it has to be in a way that encourages growth on both sides.