The Nigerian Diaspora Movement (NDM) said the COVID-19 pandemic truncated the annual social lifestyles for many Nigerians in the U.S. in 2020.
The Chairperson of NDM, Apollos Nwauwa, made this known in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
The NDM comprises 20 million Nigerians in the diaspora working together to build a progressive nation where every citizen is empowered to become and give the best.
Mr Nnauwa, who is also the Secretary-General and Public Relations Officer, African Diaspora Congress (ADC), said Nigerians indeed missed the fanfare often experienced during yuletide.
According to him, instead of thinking about home-bound travels this year, Nigerians in the diaspora have been frozen to a standstill by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Nnauwa said: “Every year, come rain, come sunshine, Nigerians travel home to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their families and friends back home.
“From January of every year, Nigerians in the U.S. begin to save money to travel home, by April, almost all international flights to Nigeria are usually sold out for December travels, due to the rush to purchase tickets.
“This is usually to secure reasonable fares and guarantee seats on home-bound flights, but COVID-19 pandemic has truncated this annual migratory pattern and social lives for many Nigerians in the U.S.
“Given the huge death tolls, Nigerians, like other U.S. residents, have spent the better part of this year locked inside their homes just to stay safe.”
He described COVID-19 as a deadly disease that kills with reckless abandon in the U.S., saying Nigerians are not only stuck there, but are now facing untold depression which the pandemic engendered.
“For the first time, Nigerians had no choice than to spend their Christmas in solitude in the U.S. with no fanfare, with no friends and larger family.
“For many, 2020 Christmas is the worst ever for Nigerian and African Diasporans; it is typically lonely and dreadful, the same lonesomeness will mark the upcoming New Year celebration.
“It is certainly a year that most Nigerians and Africans in diaspora will prefer to forget, though not even in a hurry because of its long-lasting devastations and deprivations,” he added.
The NDM chair said millions of people, including Nigerians in the U.S., had been laid off from work, just as breadlines had gotten longer and domestic crises worsened.
Moreover, he said, endless safety measures truncated all manner of celebrations, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.
“This includes usual annual 4th of July Independence carnival, thanksgiving celebration, Christmas festivity and New Year blast; no doubt what COVID-19 has done in history is to lose a year.
“Since the beginning of the year, almost all social events and activities in the U.S. have been paralysed by COVID-19 and its associated repercussions.
“Nigerians and Africans have been affected in extraordinary ways; traditionally Africans, especially Nigerians, are socially active and boisterous people with unusual penchant for communal lifestyles and merriment.
“Unlike typical individualistic Americans, Nigerians in diaspora do not like isolation, but naturally showy, therefore one can better understand the impact of loneliness forced upon them by the pandemic,” he added.
African Diaspora Congress is a coalition of the various groups and concerned citizens from Africa and African Diaspora.