Amb. Zubairu Dada, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said on Saturday in Abuja that the Federal Government was committed to build and strengthen ties with Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Dada made this known in Abuja at the inaugural Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series organised by the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
The lecture has the theme: Mobilising Nigerians in Diaspora for National Development.
He said that in 2020, record showed that the diaspora home remittances stood at 20 billion dollars and the population of Nigerians in the diaspora was 17 million.
According to him, the diasporans are valued as real catalyst for economic development of the country.
He said that the contributions of the diaspora in countries such as Israel, India and the Philippines have made tremendous impact on the development of their countries.
“The establishment of NIDCOM is a step in the right direction to achieving the same objectives.
“The diaspora constitute a key component to connect with when designing strategies for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria, especially as majority of them know the terrain and will apply professionalism.
“It is at this juncture the Federal Government established NIDCOM as a vehicle to harness the human capital and material resources of the diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria.
“The Nigerians in the diaspora are therefore, a potential catalyst for the accelerated development of the country and they deserve to be regarded and treated as such.
“As a means of reaching out and mobilising Diaspora buy-in into this partnership for the development of the motherland, about eight or so strategies have been marshalled, among which is the establishment of the NIDCOM,’’ he said.
Speaking earlier, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, NIDCOM said that the lecture series was projected to be a major aspect of national discuss.
“Nigerians home and abroad can be kept abreast of the plan of government of Nigeria to her diaspora community through NIDCOM.
“It is also an opportunity for the government through NIDCOM to engage, inform and educate the diaspora through leading an open discussion of issues that confront Nigerians in the Diaspora in relations to their existence in their host communities.
“Let me therefore, encourage all Nigerians in the diaspora to avail themselves of this platform by creating time to join the Webinar Series as a veritable tool for participation in national development,’’ Dabiri-Erewa said.
Also, Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior said that the ministry in conjunction with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has been on the forefront of making life easy for people living and doing business abroad.
“Prominent among measures we have taken are the recent launch of electronic temporary passport. This replaces the former emergency travel certificate and is to ease the burden of Nigerians whose passport has expired during the pandemic.
“Its a one way travel passport which should be submitted on arrival at any of the entry points. And as soon as you arrive you can renew your passport at the airport or at the point of entry.
“The ministry has recently put a special passport exercise; this exercise is targeted at Nigerians residing in the most affected countries in Europe when the lockdown affected economic and social activities.
“It will also enable personnel of immigration service to meet with these Nigerians at their places of residence and make them enroll for passport by deploying the mobile unit.
“We started this in Canada and U.S. and we have been getting good reports,” Aregbesola said.