The Federal Government says it is working at inaugurating the Nigeria Diaspora investment fund and mortgage housing project for Nigerians living abroad. The Chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa said this at a webinar to mark this year’s National Diaspora Day event in Abuja. She said the theme of the event “Leveraging Diaspora Resources for National Development in a COVID-19 Era” is a summary of the entire mandate of NIDCOM. “The activities we have executed, those ongoing, and the ones that are yet to take-off are all definitive, of the theme. Our interactions today is expected to mobilise you to key into some of the programmes and chart improved or better ways on how to achieve them,” she said.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, the programmes the commission is currently working on includes working with the National Assembly to make Diaspora voting a reality, the Diaspora Merit Award, and collating Data of Nigerians in the Diaspora. She added that they are also working on the Diaspora Mortgage Housing project in collaboration with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and Diaspora Investment Trust Fund. She observed that many countries cutting across all the Continents have evidence or testimonial to the direct and indirect linkage between their Diaspora and National Development. “Countries like India, Israel, Germany, China, Italy, and Ghana harnessed their Diaspora resources meticulously and judiciously, towards socio – economic growth. Such made immeasurable impact on capacity building and infrastructural development. When properly deployed, these resources often create positive measurable ripple effects that could mitigate unemployment, leading to the improvement in the quality of life and reduction in poverty,” she said.
She said efforts by groups and government led to the enactment of the Act establishing the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, which “provides for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the policies, projects and participation in the development of Nigeria and for the purpose of utilising the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria; and for related matters. Since its establishment a year ago, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission has a lot to celebrate. This is because the passion and consistency that saw to the establishment of the commission, has been maintained and sustained,” she said.
According to her, the Annual Diaspora Day on 25th July every year, Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (an NGO Initiative) in collaboration with NIDCOM, the Diaspora Festival, The Door of Return, Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria and the Diaspora State Focal Persons Summit are some of the successes recorded by NIDCOM. Others include, the Nigeria – Saudi Arabia Investment Forum, Interventions in the Rescue of Nigerians Stranded Abroad, victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa 2019, rescue of Abia-Uchenna and Ebochinedu (Students of FUTO Owerri) from Croatia, intervention in respect of Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia (falsely framed and accused of drug related offence), Ibrahim Ibrahim (falsely accused and jailed) in Saudi and others and the rescue and repatriation of 69 Nigerian women from Lebanon. She also disclosed that NIDCOM is in collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission to register Nigerians in the Diaspora. “NIDCOM ia partnering with the OPS Wash (the umbrella body for private engagement to support the declaration to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2024). We plan to mobilise millions of Nigerians in the Diaspora to fund a toilet per household. A global project will soon be launched and we look forward to all Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in this most needed project.”
“We hope that at the end of the day, we would have motivated the Nigerians in the Diaspora on deployment of diaspora investments and entrepreneurship to assist with the post-COVID-19 recovery process, especially as diaspora home remittances which sustain livelihoods are impacted negatively by the pandemic. That Diaspora groups and individuals who are yet to join the train would have realized the need to be part of the opportunities that abound for economic investments or Charitable Missions in Nigeria. The rich academic, professional, and various contemporary experiences have already placed you, the Diaspora at an advantage. I am therefore enthusiastically waiting to have you empty yourselves generously, to enrich the delivery of the Commission’s Mandate, and ultimately the development of our dear country Nigeria. Our key note speaker today, Masai Ujiri, is of course an internationally renowned, accomplished personality, no doubt. However, Masai is even more appreciated because he always remembers home and has contributed immensely to the development of the Nigeria youth and plans to do a lot more. We are Nigerians and we are proud. Show me one Nigerian committing a crime and I will show you ten thousand doing great things, I want to seize the opportunity to commend Mr. Ikenna Nweke, the Nigerian in Japan who recently returned huge sums of money he found. We appreciate Ikenna who is presently here with us at this conference,” she said.