11 Americans Discover Nigerian Roots At New York DNA Event

Eleven Americans have discovered their Nigerian roots through DNA testing of their ancestors at the Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York, United States.

Through ancestry DNA testing, the 11 Americans were discovered to have Nigerian lineages of Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Yoruba-Fulani, and Fulani-Kanuri, 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, sparking excitement and pride among attendees.

The Nigerian-linked Americans included 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, among which were Cameroon, The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, and Niger Republic.

According to the statement, the consul-general of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Abubakar Jidda, in his remark, said the discovery of Nigerian ancestry bridged cultural gaps and celebrated the enduring bonds between Nigeria and the global African community.

He said, “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 event 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 to promote 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, Dr Gina Paige, co-founder and president of AfricanAncestry.com, said hosting the ‘Ancestry Reveal’ event at the Nigerian Consulate had deepened participants’ experience, especially those whose roots trace to Nigeria.


Paige, who praised the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development for its partnership, 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.


Expressing gratitude to Amb Jidda for warmly welcoming the participants, Paige said the ancestry test helps to “reconnect us to the lands and the people that our ancestors were stolen from, and it is significant to do the reveal here (at Nigeria House).”


The co-founder added, “With the group of young people who are in the process of confirming their identities, so that they have a sense of place and a sense of belonging that roots them as they’re moving to live – of course, that’s the same for adults as well.


“And to be able to do it here at the Nigeria House is even more affirming because this is Nigeria, especially for those who we trace to Nigeria like me; we are already home; we have come home without even realising it.”


She underscored the need for African countries to give citizenship or long-term visas to diasporas whose ancestors were from Africa, saying those who discovered their African roots often asked if they had a path to citizenship.


“There’s a strong desire to reconnect physically, through travel; there is a strong desire to engage economically, and there is a strong desire to contribute philanthropically,” she added.


In his remarks, the consul of trade and investment, Ambasssador Franklin Ogunyemi, stressed Nigeria’s strategic importance in Africa, said the consulate is dedicated to fostering strong ties between Nigeria and the global community, especially the African diaspora, and invited them to Nigeria.


On her part, the Culture Ambassador of the Nigerian Consulate in New York, Ms Joyce Adewumi, said Nigeria is the preeminent leader in Africa, the most populous, and the most educated immigrant population in the U.S. She stressed that the country’s rich culture, people, cuisines and music that are globally acclaimed.


The New York City youth and community development commissioner, Mr Keith Howard, said it is a relief that people know their identities and congratulated the participants for knowing they were not lost.

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