By Bukar Bolori
President Bola Tinubu has promised to involve Nigerians in the Diaspora in the designing, implementation and review of public policies, plans and programmes.
Tinubu disclosed this on Tuesday while given his remark at the 2023 Diaspora Day celebration in Abuja with the theme, ““Consolidating Diaspora engagement for national development.”
The president, who was represented at the event by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said the government was not unmindful of the contribution of the Nigerians in Diaspora to the economy.
He said: “It is a great delight to address our over seventeen million Nigerians in the Diaspora as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for the very first time on this auspicious occasion of the celebration of our National Diaspora Day 2023. The National Diaspora Policy 2021 prescribes July 25th annually as a day to celebrate Nigerians in the Diaspora by recognizing their contributions to National Development and networking them to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, State Diaspora Focal Point Officers (SDFPOs) and Civil Society Organzations (CSOs) in Nigeria.
“The theme for this years celebrations “Consolidating Diaspora Engagement for National Development” is apt giving the fact that it births the new dawn in our political journey with the aim of strengthening our development in policies and programmes with our Diaspora Community across the globe for national development.
“Let me reiterate that government has held our Diaspora in high esteem and has worked hard in uplifting our engagements with them.”
He added that: ” It is worthy of note that this year’s Diaspora Day celebration is a special one owing to the new initiatives by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to further celebrate the amazing contributions of our Diaspora Champions with the introduction of the maiden edition of National Diaspora Merit Awards. This initiative will not only serve as a morale booster for the Diaspora community but will also encourage Diaspora engagement and participation for national development.
“Let me commend the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) for its dynamic engagements with the Diaspora community especially in coming up with laudable programmes for Nigerians in Diaspora to invest at home. I believe in the years to come, these programmes will impact tremendously on our economy by catalyzing our developmental efforts. May I therefore encourage you to key into these programmes for our mutual benefits.
“May I also let you know that this new democratically elected government is a Diaspora friendly one, which will provide an enabling platform for effective policies for the Diaspora with the view to galvanizing support for the new administration and concretizing our democracy, setting a good example for other African countries to emulate.
“Let me also let you know that we will look at the Challenges NiDCOM has enumerated with a view to ameliorating the same so that we will maximize the benefits of our engagements with our Diaspora for national development.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume on his part advised all Nigerians to key into the federal government development agenda.
He stressed that all Nigerians “both at home and Diaspora should key into our development agenda as only Nigerians can develop Nigeria. This includes both those at home and those in the Diaspora.”
In her welcome remark, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa called for the review of the Act setting up the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
She noted there is the need to review the Act setting up NiDCOM to streamline its activities by setting up a smart board and a sustaining funding mechanism for its activities.
Dabiri-Erewa also called on the government to support and conclude the setting up of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Fund (NDIF) as an investment window for the Diaspora, even as she stressed that: “These and others will surely consolidate the engagements of Nigerians in the Diaspora to contribute immensely to national development. “