Relocating abroad for greener pastures has become the new Nigerian anthem. It doesn’t matter if you’ll find what you’re looking for once you relocate. The mantra is, “japa fess, when we reach there, we go find our way.” Anyway, it’s a well known fact that many professionals are leaving the country in hundreds. Nigerian celebrities are no exception. Yes, they made their name in Nigeria, but prefer to live abroad due to familiar challenges that the country has been burdened with. One might wonder why they chose to leave despite the money and fame. But you really can’t blame them due to the situation of the country.
So, let’s go ahead to talk about Nigerian celebrities that have relocated abroad.
Top 15 Nigerian celebrities that have relocated abroad
Note that this list will only focus on Nigerian celebrities that have relocated abroad as recently as 2016. Other celebrities that relocated earlier, like Regina Askia, Pat Attah, Georgina Onuoha and the likes shall not be included.
William Iroha, popularly known as 2Shotz, was one of the pioneers of the hip-hop genre in the Nigerian music industry. The famous rapper was one of the hottest in the early 2000s. He released his sixth album in 2013 and made his way out of Nigeria in 2016. 2Shotz currently lives in the United States and has transitioned his career as a rapper into a photographer and filmmaker. He covers events, parties and ceremonies in Texas.
Famous Nigerian singer, Dapo Oyebanjo aka D’Banj, has become one of the Nigerian celebrities to relocate abroad. D’Banj now lives in Dubai with his wife and son. Although he lives abroad, he is still relevant in the Nigerian entertainment industry. The Koko master was one of the judges of the Nigerian Idol in 2022. He was also recently appointed by Dubai’s Department for Economy and Tourism (DET) as the the Official Afrobeat Artist of the AfroZons Dubai Soundoff in March this year. D’Banj was a raving sensation, especially in the early 2000s and has won numerous international awards in his illustrious career.
13. Helen Paul
Popular Nigerian comedienne, Helen Paul, was one of the Nigerian celebrities who left the country recently. She left shortly after receiving her Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the University of Lagos in 2019. Helen Paul is now a Professor entrepreneur in a US university. In addition, she owns a clothing shop there as well.
12. Williams Uchemba
Former Nollywood child star, Williams Uchemba now lives in the United States. Uchemba permanently relocated in 2020 after getting married to his wife, Brunella Oscar. He’s still very active in Nigeria as he regularly comes back home for his projects.
Comedianne Princess whose real name is Oluwadamilola Adekoya, has been in the news in recent times. The popular comedianne had levelled charges of child molestation against her colleague Baba Ijesha, for having inappropriate sexual relationship with her foster daughter. Ijesha was found guilty and sentenced which caused more than a stir in the Yoruba movie industry. It was alleged that Princess was receiving death threats following her involvement in the case which forced her to leave the country. She now lives in the United Kingdom.
Winner of the 2018 edition of Big Brother Naija reality show, Miracle Igbokwe, announced that he would be going to complete his training for a Commercial Pilot Licence during the show. He won the grand prize of N45 million but rather than completing his training in Nigeria as scheduled, he relocated to the United States. Since then, he has lived in the US where he reportedly got married and divorced.
Nina Chinonso Onyenobi is one of the most controversial celebrities to come out of Big Brother Naija. She was one of the finalists in the 2019 edition, where she had a sexual relationship with eventual winner, Miracle. Nina shortly had her traditional wedding in 2020 and moved to the United States to join her husband, Tony. However, the couple who share a son split and the controversial reality TV star announced she had remarried an African American, Chris Miller on October 27, 2022.
8. Adekunle Gold and Simi
Nigerian super star power couple, Adekunle Gold and Simi have left Nigeria for the United States. Adekunle Gold, who shares a daughter with Simi, announced their japa with a cryptic Instagram post, ““90219 babies! Zip code changed, and so did the price moafuckers!” It will interest you to know that the couple had their daughter in the US. They now shuffle between Nigeria and US for their careers.
Augustine Miles Kelechi, popularly known as Tekno, is a popular Nigerian singer. He recently featured in Kizz Daniel‘s song of the year, “Buga” which means he is still very active in Nigerian music. However, the “Jogolo” crooner relocated to the United States in 2021. His reason was that the country has turned to UAR, a mockery following the submission to the House of Representatives that Nigeria’s name is changed to the United African Republic. Tekno said he will only return when the name goes back to Nigeria.
6. Omoni Oboli
Omoni Oboli is a Nigerian actress and filmmaker. She is one of the Nigerian celebrities that have managed to live a scandal-free life. Oboli has been active in Nollywood for decades. The actress, who recently celebrated her 21st wedding anniversary with her husband, moved to Canada with her family in 2017. But she is still very active in the Nigerian movie industry.
5. Chidi Mokeme
Chidi Mokeme was one of the “baddest boys” in Nollywood in the late 90s and early 2000s. The actor, who has many movies to his credit, also anchored the famous Gulder Ultimate Show where he held the Nigerian television audiences spellbound with his skills. Mokeme married Dr Jean Chinwe Olumba, in 2012. The couple share a son together. Although Mokeme tried staying in Nigeria following his marriage, he eventually joined his wife in the US in 2016. He still comes back to Nigeria from time to time for his projects.
4. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde
Very few people in Nigeria and Africa can claim they don’t know Omotola, aka Omosexy. The Nigerian screen diva has been a Nollywood sensation for over two decades. The actress, who is married to a pilot, Matthew Ekeinde, now lives in Los Angeles, California, United States, with three of her children, Meraiah, Michael and Mathew Jnr. According to her, she’s hoping to break into Hollywood and has even engaged the services of a talent company. Omosexy also revealed she had been relunctant to relocate earlier because of her marriage.
3. Sam Adeyemi
Sam Adeyemi is a Nigerian celebrity pastor and founder of Daystar Christian Center. He was reported to have relocated to the United States shortly after the #EndSARS protest in 2020. Adeyemi revealed he left Nigeria for his peace of mind following threats because of his support for the youths during the protest that shook the whole nation. Pastor Adeyemi shuffles between Nigeria and America for his ministry.
Tems is one of the breakout stars in the Nigerian music industry. Her full name is Temilade Openiyi and she is one of the most sought-after Nigerian artists in the world now. Tems has won the BET Awards and received international acclaim for her feature in Wizkid’s “Essence”. She also sang vocals for the popular Hollywood movie, The Black Panther. Tems now lives in the United States following a vocal ailment that made her pause her singing career.
E shock you, ba? Our Starboy has left Nigeria for the past couple of years folllowing his musical breakthrough on the global scene. Wizkid, full name Ayodeji Balogun, now lives in the United States but still operates in Nigeria.
Who is your favorite Nigerian celebrity that has relocated abroad?