The European Commission announced that that migrant and refugee arrivals in Europe via the Mediterranean Sea number 134,004 as of December 5, 2018, down from 179,536 during the same period in 2017. The year that saw the highest number of arrivals, 1,015,078, was 2015. While Italy experienced the biggest drop, arrivals actually increased in Spain and Greece. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan have remained the largest countries of origin since 2014; since then, almost one million Syrians have sought asylum in the Europe
Sub-Saharan Africans make up an large portion of those living outside their country of origin globally, and remain a significant and growing part of the migrant and refugee flow, especially those arriving in Italy and Spain. In Italy, in numerical order, the largest countries of origin were Tunisia, Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. In Spain, it was Guinea, Morocco, Mali, and Ivory Coast. Spain retains two enclaves on the North African coast, Ceuta and Melilla, and many Africans go there to seek refugee asylum, sometimes storming border walls.
The prominence of Nigeria as an origin for migrants and refugees probably owes much to the fact that the country is by far most populous in Africa, comprising roughly one-sixth of the continent’s people. The other African countries of migrant and refugee origin—Eritrea, Sudan, Mali, Ivory Coast—are involved in internal conflict or are just emerging from it. Even though by Western standards migrants and refugees are desperately poor, they still need some money to afford to make it to Europe. The poorest of the poor, such as the internally displaced in northeast Nigeria, lack the resources to even try.