The number of West African residents moving to Prince Albert and the north is on the rise, and the Ndi Igbo N’Ile Cultural Association of Northern Saskatchewan (NINCANS) rolled out the welcome mat for them on Newcomer’s Welcome Day.
NINCANS members gathered at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse on Saturday to welcome the new arrivals. President Nnamdi Ndbuka said the goal was to create a friendly and hospitable environment.
“It’s an opportunity for us to meet with them and also have them know more information about the community and Northern Saskatchewan.” Ndubuka said.
“The majority of the newcomers here are students or landed immigrants so it will be nice for them to learn about the city and where to get things, which will enable them to settle very confidently without much challenges.”
Another purpose was to introduce them to the Association and explain the kind of supports that are available from a cultural perspective. Ndubuka said have nearly 150 members since starting in March of 2023. The organization aims to preserve and promote Igbo culture.
Igbo people come from Eastern Nigeria, and Nudbuka said the population from that region is growing in Northern Saskatchewan including Prince Albert, the Athabasca region, northwest and northeast.
“It’s a large (area),” Ndubuka said. “We don’t have any Igbo cultural associations in the north but we do have in Saskatoon and Regina down south. This is the one in the northern part.”
The event included health and wellness information, settlement services and programs, newcomers networking and refreshments. After a brief introductory speech by Ndubuka, those in attendance introduced themselves and said where they were from.
Programs offered by the Association include Igbo education and awareness, which include a soon to start language school preserving the Igbo dialect.
The event on Saturday was part of their newcomer’s welfare program which also shares information on how to integrate into society. There are also mentorship programs, child and youth programs and women’s empowerment programs.
The population for all of West African immigrants is growing in Prince Albert, not only Nigerian people.
“We are seeing a good number of immigrants coming to Saskatchewan thanks to the Saskatchewan nominee program,” Ndubuka said. “Also the higher institutions of learning are attracting more student population.
“Students (are) coming in with their families, so it has added to the number of newcomers in Saskatchewan, which we are really happy about,” he added.
Ndubuka thanked everyone who attended and also the entire community.
“I just want to thank our Prince Albert community as well as the Government of Saskatchewan for continuing to provide opportunities for newcomers to come into our society, to add to our numbers, and give us the opportunity to preserve the cultural heritage. We also want to thank our members for showing up today.”