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

“I don’t live here actually.”

NS

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

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?

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.

[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.

I'm a mole, innit.