By Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Abuja
Sen. (Dr) Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and NGO’s on Thursday described Nigerians in the Diaspora as the greatest assets of the country with their contributions to the nation’s development.
Oloriegbe, who led other committee members on inaugural oversight functions to the headquarters of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abuja said the Nigerians abroad are diverse in their respective contributions to country’s development.
The Senate Committee was received by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM and her Management team.
He said Nigerians in the Diaspora constitutes a significant proportion of the population, not in terms of number alone but in terms of their importance to the economy of the country.
The excited Sen. Oloriegbe said that despite the paucity of funds allocated to NIDCOM, the Commission has been able to annex the potentials of the Nigerians abroad and also lived to expectations.
He said the committee visit was basically to conduct oversight functions on the Commission as required by law and see further areas of interventions.
“I am happy that we are the first Committee to oversight the Commission after it came into existence last year
“This Commission looks so small but the responsibility put on it is very big, not only big in terms of the volume but very critical and important both for the country in terms of security and touching the life of the individuals especially the citizens abroad.
He assured Hon. Dabiri-Erewa that the committee would do everything possible to make the job of the commission easy for them through necessary legal framework and required amendment to the NIDCOM Act.
Oloriegbe said such amendments would enable the country to tap more into the Diaspora resources for the overall benefits of the country.
Responding, the NIDCOM Chairman, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa thanked the Committee for being there for the Commission during its trying period, saying its top priority is working on the Database of Nigerians in the Diaspora. and encouraging diaspora investments
She said that the National Diaspora Policy, which had been validated by all stakeholders and development partners, had been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for presentation to the Federal Executive Council for approval as that will solve some of the challenges confronting the administration of Diaspora affairs in Nigeria.
She listed other activities of the commission in the last one year of its creation as holding National Diaspora Day, Nigerians Diaspora Investment Summit, the Badagry Door of Return and inauguration of the State Focal point officers.,
Others, according to her, include signing of MoU with some stakeholders, Investment summit with Nigerians in Saudi Arabia, evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad, Diaspora Housing project with Federal Mortgage Bank and collaboration with some international organisations.
She also requested for the intervention of the committee in the areas of increased funding of the Commission, reduction of charges charged by IMTOs on remittances by the diasporans and support for the commission to have its own office accommodation.
Dabiri-Erewa also solicited for the support of the Senate Committee on legislation to make the travelling of Nigerians abroad seeking for jobs to be legalised in line with international labour laws, thus eradicating the human trafficking of Nigerians abroad, adding that illegal migration can be made legal with the right laws put in place and effective multi-agency collaboration .
In his remarks, Sen. Abba Morro, who was also on the entourage,commended Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and her team for being dynamic despite paucity of funds, describing her as “ a comrade” , always determined to achieve results , against all odds.
Balogun is Head, Media and Public Relations Unit NIDCOM, Abuja.