By Peter DURU, Makurdi
Professor Toyin Falola of the University of Texas, United States of America has disclosed that Nigerians in diaspora remit over $1.7billion annually to boost the nationâ€™s economy.
He disclosed that these remittances were to family members and friends in the country, advising that the nation tapped into this foreign exchange source to stimulate development in the country.
Delivering a paper at a public lecture organised by the History Department of Benue State University, Makurdi, titled â€œCitizens at home, citizens abroad and the globalization of knowledgeâ€, the don noted that the huge transfers could be translated to tangible developments for the teeming populace.
Professor Falola, who was invested with the Julius Nyerere Professorial chair of Modern African History by the Vice Chancellor ofÂ Benue State University, Professor Paul Akase Sorkaa, described himself as a Structural Adjustment Programme SAP Diasporan.
He, however, maintained that â€œthe remittances from the Diaspora could be a veritable means of sustaining the nationâ€™s ailing economyâ€.
Decrying the adversity of the economic policies as SAP on the economies of developing countries like Nigeria, the don noted thatÂ Africa has lostÂ no fewer than 14 million of her citizens to the western world through slavery, while the unfavorable economic policies premised on the SAP in the 1980s drove that similar figure to the west.
He stressed that the country could tap from the opportunities presented it through the affluence of Nigerians in Diaspora, but raised concerns over the endemic corruption in the country which, he noted, could thwart the opportunities presented by the current scenario.
He cite the state of Israel, Mexico and the Philippines as countries that have taken full advantage of their citizens in Diaspora to improve their technological and economic prowess in the last decade, stressing that Nigeria could do likewise.
In his remark, the Vice Chancellor of Benue State University, Makurdi, Professor Sorkaa, stated that the university has put a process in motion to collaborate with the nationâ€™s intelligentsia in the Diaspora to develop the institution.
Declaring open the lecture, Governor Gabriel Suswam assured of his administrationâ€™s commitment to the funding of the state-owned university to meet the academic needs of the people.