The Presidency is set to partner with the National Assembly on a new policy to carter for the needs and inclusiveness of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Relations, gave this news when she led a delegation to visit the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora, Sen. Rose Oko, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The potentials of Nigerians in the Diaspora, she said, could not be effectively harnessed without a Diaspora policy and a commission to carter for the Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“We must have a Diaspora Policy as soon as possible, Nigeria does not have a Diaspora policy, so the first thing we would be doing is crafting a Diaspora policy. We will be working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the House and Senate Committee on Diaspora to craft this policy on Diaspora matters. This policy would be like a thrust for every other thing that we are going to do and work on that will start very soon, we are going to get every Nigerian in the Diaspora to contribute to the policy. Without the policy we cannot do anything, so that is very critical, and of course the Diaspora Commission Bill is also very critical,” she said.
She recalled that the Bill to create a Diaspora Commission was passed by the 7th Assembly but was not assented to and therefore urged the 8th National Assembly to revisit the bill.
She said that with the policy and commission, it would be important to have a database of Nigerians in the Diaspora with a view to reaping good benefits from them.
She added that the nation may be ignoring an untapped resource by not accommodating the Nigerians in Diaspora who have remitted over $21 billion dollars annually to the country.
“There is no better time to have Nigerians in Diaspora collaborating to get the best for Nigeria. The issue of Diaspora voting is also important but that would depend on the National Assembly if they decide to amend the constitution to make this possible. Perhaps the economic survival of Nigeria could depend a lot on the Nigerians in the Diaspora; if they were able to remit $21 billion in 2014 they can be able to do more. President Buhari is willing that is why for the first time he has an SSA on Diaspora, we have a committee in the Senate, we have a committee in the House. We have committed Nigerians in the diaspora who are contributing to the World economy so we have no excuse not to tap into this enormous human resource. Because of its importance, 26 countries have formed ministries for the diaspora, we should not let other countries beat us to it because ours is part of the largest population,” she said.