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Nigerians living abroad remitted about $25 billion in 2019, the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has said.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja on the activities of the commission since it was set up May last year.
She said although $25 billion has been remitted, “there are some areas that have not been captured” which indicates that the actual value of remittance is higher.
Concerning the welfare of Nigerians who returned from South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks in that country, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa urged the state governments who are yet to reach out to their indigenes among them to do so.
She said reaching out to them is not difficult as they are not many.
She said the returnees have not been abandoned, adding that the commission plans to meet with them in January.
“We are working with SMEDAN (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria) and other agencies to see what more can be done for the returnees.”
She further stressed the importance of Nigerians in Diaspora, stating that the commission “will always engage with Nigerians wherever they are and follow the president’s instruction to ensure that no one is taken for granted or neglected.”
In 2019, the commission organised a Nigeria in Diaspora Investment Summit. It also plans to launch a Nigerian in Diaspora Trust Fund.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said the commission believes that this is important because Nigerians in Diaspora want to invest in their country. She said such Nigerians would find the trust fund useful.
Also, she said, the commission would establish a Diaspora Database which will reveal the exact number of Nigerians who are in the Diaspora.
She also urged the National Assembly to look into Diaspora voting, saying Nigerians in Diaspora “remit so much to the country and contribute so much to the economy.
“The National Assembly needs to amend relevant laws to make it possible for Nigerians in Diaspora to vote,” she said.
“Diaspora matters will be put on the front burner moving forward,” she said.