The Chairman/CEO,Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM ,Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has charged all state governments in Nigeria to establish data base for Nigerians in Diaspora, Dabiri-Erewa stated this during the inaugural summit of State Diaspora Focal Point Officers (DFPOs)on Tuesday in Abuja.
Dabiri-Erewa stated that federal government was working on central data base for Nigerians in Diaspora for federal government to interface with Nigerians abroad.
NiDCOM Chairman in her open remark said that the summit was to recognize the state diaspora focal point officers to synergize with NIDCOM in order to increase Diasporan interest and engagement for sustainable development.
She then tasked the State Diaspora Focal Point Officers to ensure that they deliver on their mandates,
“If Nigeria is to succeed in harnessing her rich, vital and critical resources of the diaspora for nation building, the states are the engine room”.
According to her, “It is also right to say that the states are the major stakeholders in terms of execution and benefits.
“Let me therefore implore all of you to maximise your being here today and listen attentively. Be conscious of the purpose of your being here, learn all that you need to learn, ask all the questions you need to ask, equip yourself to the maximum, ready to deliver for your states.
“You should know that we are partners with a great mission. Let’s synergies, collaborate and do the needful to attract desired businesses and projects that abound out there”, she said.
She further assured Nigerians in Diaspora that the commission was working with relevant government agencies towards actualization of Diaspora voting.
Dabiri-Erewa stated “The Nigerians in the diaspora commission is on a massive advocacy to get the diaspora to appreciate the critical role they can play in nation building. They are being mobilized across all continents and nations to return home and establish businesses in their various areas of expertise.
So far, there are good and successful stories that have come out of these efforts. Some of these positive results recorded are in the health sector, agriculture, manufacturing, education,etc.
“The 25 billion dollars estimated to have been remitted and injected into the Nigerian economy in 2018 attest to the enormous resources that can be injected into the economy annually. It may interest you to know that the amount does not include other remittances that are done informally. The NIDCOM being a facilitating agency for the diaspora is therefore empowered to provide the leadership and guide needed to achieve set goals.”
Dabiri-Erewa at the summit also outlined some of the achievements of the Commission, which came into being in June 2019 with the signing of its establishment Act, She noted that NiDCOM, in collaboration with the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit, a nongovernmental organisation, had organised two investment summits in which Nigerians at home and abroad participated.
Stakeholders at the summit also commended Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM for decentralization of its activities,they urged the Chairman of the commission not to relent her of efforts in engaging Nigerians in Diaspora at different foras.
In a keynote address the Abia state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, stated how Abia state government recognized the need for collaboration with indigenes of the state who are in diaspora early in his administration and has resulted to the quality health service delivery, educational development and service delivery in other sectors as a result of synergy.
“it is not the funds I am interested in repatriating, it is the human capital to contribute to development back home”.Gov Ikpeazu said.
Gov Ikpeazu seized the summit to present some products produced by Nigerians in Diaspora who had returned home to contribute their to the economy of the state.
Earlier in his welcome address, Dr Sule Yakubu Bassi , the Secretary of NIDCOM called for genuine advocacy towards mobilization of Nigerians in Diaspora and also urged relevant stakeholders to cooperate with NiDCOM to achieve its core goals.
A Nigerian in Diaspora, Dr Mrs Omobolanle Olowu who spoke on the Diasporan medical mission emphasized the importance of following due process in the executing Diasporan medical missions and Outreach programs stated that it was important for the focal point officers to be well informed of such initiatives prior to its implementation.
Invited Speakers talked on several issues like Diapora village ,Diasporan home remittances , Diasporan state projects and even Diasporan investment summit initiative.
In her lecture on Diasporan investment summit initiative, Dr Mrs Badewa Williams lauded the success of the Diaspora investment summit initiative and spoke on Partnerships and empowerment of Nigerians by the Nigerian citizens in Diaspora. She pointed out the impact of foreign investors in the economy and pointed out that it was possible for Nigerians in diaspora to do all that and more in order to Grow the economy of the country.
Dr Mrs Badewa stated that the first summit was a large success and the second summit was an even larger success doubling the number of participants in the first Diaspora investment summit. She also announced the creation of a Nigeria diaspora investment trust fund to enable Nigerians in diaspora monitor the data on how much is invested in which sector of the country.
Also at the summit,the Price Waterhouse coopers (PWC) spoke on the Diaspora home remittances , PWC said over 30 billion dollars was remitted in 2018,
Mr Tolu Adeleke the PWC representative stated that if properly harnessed the remittances could lead to the Nation being less dependent on oil and increase trade and investment.
On Diasporan enrollment for National identity number,National Identity Management Commission NIMC reiterated its commitment towards a seamless and effective platform of identification for all Nigerians home and abroad.
The inaugural summit with the theme “Leveraging diaspora resources for national development was attended by the Minister of foreign affairs (state) Ambassador Zubairu Dada,who represented thr Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs,Geoffrey Onyema,Chairman Senate Committee on Diaspora and NGOs,Sen. Bashiiru Ajibola,Chairman, House committee on Diaspora, Hon.Tolulope Shadipe, 14 state focal point officers,as well as other stakeholders.
Stakeholders in a communiqué at the end of summit agreed to host the summit biannually and the next summit is scheduled hold in July,2020 in Abuja .