ANNSASK helps Nigerian newcomers navigate Canada with Welcome Event

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald A Nigerian meal was served as the Association of Nigerians in Northern Saskatchewan (ANNSASK) presented a Newcomer Welcome Event on Saturday in the basement of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Prince Albert.

There is a growing population of Nigerians in Prince Albert and area, and to help those newcomers to the province, the Association of Nigerians in Northern Saskatchewan (ANNSASK) presented a Newcomer Welcome Event on Saturday in the basement of the
Redeemed Christian Church of God in Prince Albert .
ANNSASK President Dr. Jospeh Akinjobi said they wanted was to help newcomers get integrated into the community.
“We get to know them better and we know what their worries are and how we can actually step in as people of Nigerian descent to help them settle into their new home,” Akinjobi said.
Akinjobi said that it was hard to tell exactly how many people of Nigerian decent live in Northern Saskatchewan but he estimates around 300 including children, and more people keep arriving.
The event was open to international students and all newcomers and had a nice mix of both in attendance. The speakers discussed topics such as integration, finances, health and job search and integration. Speakers included Joseph Kiunga on finances and taxes, Dr. Fadeke
Awobem on health and family and Tola Ekhaguere on school and settlement.
The event also featured a free Nigerian meal for everyone in attendance before a question and answer with all of the head table of guest speakers.
Along with the welcoming events, ANSASK also tries to help newcomers have what Akinjobi calls a ‘soft landing’ when they come to Canada. He said the goal is to make people comfortable.
“As an association, we bag stuff like food, materials and all that. We do share a fair bit of food amenities,” he explained.
ANSASK has been around unofficially for six or seven years but officially they created executive positions about two years ago. Akinjobi was selected as the first president of the organization.
This is one of many events that the organization hosts each year.
“We have multiple programs in a year, this newcomer event we held one last year and this is the second one, but we usually have what we call the Nigerian Day celebration in October,” he said.
“That one is a big one where we showcase, our cultural heritage, our kids. most of whom were not born in Nigeria. We try to show them their culture.”

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The head table of speakers and officials at the ANNSASK Newcomer Welcome Event on Saturday.

The last Nigerian Day Celebration was hosted in Melfort. The executive even dressed in more traditional clothing.
“It’s a different thing altogether when we have opportunity to present ourselves this way,” Akinjobi said.
Akinjobi works at Victoria Hospital and came to the city because of a change in careers in his family.
“We moved to Prince Albert in 2017,” he explained. “Before then we were in Saskatoon but my wife changed her job,”
Akinjobi said ANNSASK has members in Prince Albert, Nipawin, Tisdale and Melfort.
“Those are our members, across northern Saskatchewan and everybody working together to make sure that everybody gets comfortable we project the image of the nation where we came from as well,” he said.
Akinjobi added that Nigerians in Canada represent professions like doctors and lawyers, as well as a broad spectrum of others.
“Nigerians are great people,” he said. “If you look around, mostly professionals and there areartisans as well, we are here to contribute positively to the growth of the community wherewe find ourselves and in every way we try to integrate and help grow the economy.”