Nigeria to establish diaspora commission

Officials of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in a group photograph with Senate President Bukola Saraki (middle) at his office in Abuja, July 2016. Photo: Afrik Glamour Magazine

Nigerians living outside the country have praised the passing of the Diaspora Commission Bill by their country’s senate.

The bill, after President Mohammadu Buhari has assented to it, provides for the establishment of the Nigerian Citizens in Diaspora Commission to ensure the protection of Nigerians in Diaspora, and promote and facilitate their effective participation in economic, political and social development of the nation.

Senate President Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki had vowed during a courtesy visit by the leadership of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) to the National Assembly last year that he would ensure the bill is passed without further delay.

In a press release, the NIDO Worldwide Leadership, comprising of the chairpersons of the group in Africa, Europe and North America,  commended the 8th Senate under the leadership of Saraki for passing the Diaspora Commission Bill on 30 March.

The statement, signed by Samuel Adewusi (NIDO Americas), Kenneth Gbandi (NIDO Europe) and Dr Obinna Kingsman (NIDO Africa) also praised Senator Annie Okonkwo, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Rose Okoji Oko, the Chairman of the Senate Committee for Diaspora & Civil Societies, and Mrs Rita Orji, Chairperson of the House Committee on Diaspora Matters, for championing the passage of the bill in the Senate.

Gbandi, in an exlusive interview with The African Courier, said the Commission is expected to provide an institutional framework for a more effective participation of Nigerians resident abroad in national development.

“With the Commission, we will now have a governmental body to interact with and that will see to issues of importance to us,” he added.

Adewusi, a lawyer, said in a separate statement, that the bill would provide for legitimate budget resources to address Diaspora issues with seriousness and foster the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the development of Nigeria.

Adewusi added that the bill would also go a long way in boosting the economic growth of Nigeria, considering the huge amount remitted by Nigerians abroad every year.

The NIDO Americas chief called on the lawmakers to also start working on the bill to allow Nigerians in Diaspora to vote at the next general election.



African Courier