By Jimoh Babatunde
The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, weekend, disclosed that the Federal Government would work with the Lagos State Government and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to project the country.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the intent of the government was to develop the many opportunities in Nigeria by encouraging Africans in the diaspora to remember their roots and develop the African countries, especially Nigeria.
Speaking while leading some Africans in diaspora from the Unites States and Jamaica to the Gerefu Island’s Point of No Return in Badagry as part of activities marking his year’s Diaspora Festival , she said that the Federal Government would continue to partner with Africans all over the world in order to develop the country and also tap into the numerous opportunities in Nigeria.
The Badagry Diaspora Festival is to celebrate the identity, culture, history, heritage and tradition of people of African descendants.
“The only way we can do it is by working with any African wherever they maybe.
“This is history, and this is irreplaceable; it needs to be tapped and that is what we have been working for to ensure that we get there.
“They came all the way from various parts of the world. It is just amazing what we have here.
“You know that African continent and Nigerian will lead the way to ensure that Africa is truly the giant of the world. The future is here.
“I am happy the Diasporas are coming here, and when they come, they are being led to what they can do in Africa, particularly here in Nigeria.
“Africa is a land of opportunities. It is a virgin land waiting to be tapped,” she said.
Dabiri-Arewa said it was a lifetime experience, and also an experience which everybody should have.
“We have come now to the Point of No Return. We have opened the door of return and you know it is a symbolic door.
“The door to prosperity, freedom and joy. So that is what we are doing. We are a blessed nation,” she said.
She added “We intend to work with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private investors to develop our opportunities. The future is here.”
Earlier, during a visit to the palace of the Akran of Badagry, the traditional ruler of the ancient town, De Wheno Aholu Menu Toyi 1 said that the people of Badagry would continue to cooperate with investors in order to develop the community and make it at par with other developed communities in the country.
Meanwhile, Dr David Anderson, a Pastor and Leader of American delegation, had promised to invest between 10 to 15 million dollars Diaspora palace in Badagry.
According to him, “the monarch gave us 10 acres of land last year when I came with 18 delegates; it will cost over 15 million dollars to build the palace which will be in form of an hotel.
“It depends on multiple factors including your own government and construction of the roads.
“There is environmental studies that need to be done and feasibility studies also; so, we need to get started on those ones first.
“Once it is done, then, we will move further. There is a lot of work that needs to be done,” he said.
Anderson commended the people of Badagry for their warm reception, describing coastal town as the Diasporas’ second home.