The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York Amb. Abubakar Jidda has become a centre of cultural revelation as no fewer than 11 Americans discovered their Nigerian roots through ancestry DNA testing.
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 11 Americans were discovered to have Nigerian lineages of Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Yoruba-Fulani, Hausa-Fulani and Fulani-Kanuri through the ancestry DNA testing.
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.
In his remarks, the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Abubakar Jidda, said the discovery of the 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.
According to him, “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 through 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.
Paige expressed gratitude to Amb Jidda for warmly welcoming the participants and allowing them to reconnect with their ancestry in Nigeria House.
Her words, “So, this (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).
“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 life – of course that’s 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 myself, we are already home; we have come home without even realizing 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.
Continuing, she said, “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.
“And people want to be able to do that as easily as possible. So citizenship, long-term visas are the types of things that the country leadership can offer those of us who are descendants of their ancestors.”
Amb. Franklin Ogunyemi, Consul, Trade and Investment, stressed the strategic importance of Nigeria in Africa,
saying Consulate is dedicated to fostering strong ties between Nigeria and the global community, especially the African diaspora, and invited them to Nigeria.
Ogunyemi, who rendered a poem on the evil of colonization adapted from David Diop’s ‘The Vultures’, lamented the oppression and suppression of Africans by European colonialists and the African’s hope for true independence from its oppressors.
Ms Joyce Adewumi, a renowned culture advocate and bridge builder between Africans on the continent and in the diaspora, regretted that African ancestors were stolen from their homeland to Europe and America.
Adewumi, who is also the Culture Ambassador of the Nigerian Consulate in New York, said Nigeria was the preeminent leader in Africa, the most populous, and the most educated immigrant population in the U.S., stressing the country’s rich culture, people, cuisines and music that are globally acclaimed.
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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