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11 Americans discover Nigerian roots

No fewer than 11 Americans have discovered their Nigerian roots through ancestry DNA testing at the Consulate of Nigeria in New York. A statement from…

No fewer than 11 Americans have discovered their Nigerian roots through ancestry DNA testing at the Consulate of Nigeria in New York.

A statement from the information desk of the Consulate, signed by Mr Tiamiyu Arobani, said the emotional ‘African Ancestry Reveal’ ceremony held at the Nigeria House in New York, highlighted the deep, historical connections between Nigeria and the African diaspora.

The 11 Americans were discovered to have Nigerian lineages of Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Yoruba-Fulani, Hausa-Fulani and Fulani-Kanuri through ancestry DNA testing.

The Nigerian-linked Americans are Maleeka Harris, Shatara Corbett, Abel Watson, Darryl Rattray, Antonia Coleman-Brown, Nicole Williams, Pablo Blanco, Estena Turner, William Conley, Keith Howard, and Gina Paige.

Several others were also discovered to have their roots linked with eight African countries, including Cameroon, The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, and Niger Republic.

In his remarks, the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Abubakar Jidda, said the discovery of Nigerian ancestry not only bridged cultural gaps but also celebrated the enduring bonds between Nigeria and the global African community.

“As you may be aware, Nigeria, with its rich tapestry of cultures and history, stands as a leader within the African continent. And we have continued to celebrate this shared heritage,” Jidda said.

The Nigerian envoy said the event was significant as it brought to light the rich, shared history between Nigeria and its diaspora, fostering a renewed sense of identity and belonging.

“So, Nigeria welcomes you. The Consulate offers various educational and cultural opportunities aimed at promoting cultural exchanges.

“We encourage you also to explore these opportunities and deepen your knowledge and understanding of Nigeria and African cultures.

“We invite you to stay connected with us for future events and activities that celebrate our shared values. Let this be the beginning of a lifelong journey of discovery,” Jidda said.

The Consul-General commended the curiosity and dedication of all the participants in their journeys to uncover their African heritage.

Unveiling the ancestry DNA test results, Co-founder and President of AfricanAncestry.com, Dr Gina Paige, said hosting the ‘Ancestry Reveal’ event at the Nigerian Consulate had deepened the experience for all participants, especially those whose roots traced to Nigeria.

Paige also praised the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development for its partnership “on this unprecedented Rites of Passage programme for the City’s youth”.

Speaking on the significance of the event, she said the mission of AfricanAncestry.com is to help Black people transform how they view themselves and Africa by using DNA to identify their last identities.

“Black people are the original victims of identity theft. We don’t know our names, we don’t know our languages, we don’t know who our ancestors were or are, and our families were continuously torn apart during slavery,” she regretted.

The New York City Commissioner for Youth and Community Development, Mr Keith Howard, said it was relieving for the people to know their identities and congratulated the participants for knowing that they were not lost.

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