A new policy on Nigeria’s diaspora is in the offing. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says that the Federal Government plans to address matters that concern the millions of Nigerians living abroad. The government hopes to achieve this through the introduction of a policy which would help tackle the challenges faced by the diaspora in relating effectively to the economic and social institutions of their fatherland.
Details given by the minister about the plan include a collaboration with the Institute for Diaspora and Transnational Studies situated at the University of Ibadan to build a diaspora research and study centre, and working with Nigerian doctors in the diaspora to positively impact Nigeria’s health care system.
The plan appears to be multi-faceted; apart from making it easier for Nigerians residing outside the country to interact effectively with their country of origin, the strategy could also include recognising the outstanding achievers amongst them. According to Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, there are considerations for some of them to be given national awards and honours.
The renewed attempt by Nigeria to cosy up to its Diaspora is partly driven by economic considerations, a fact alluded to by the minister while she gave details of the proposed policy. Remittances from Nigerians living beyond the country’s borders has grown over the last decade, reaching $20.83 billion in 2014- by far the largest contribution of any country’s diaspora in Africa. The Federal Government seems bent on making the most of Nigeria’s relationship with its citizens residing abroad, as it seeks to exploit more avenues to fire up the economy’s growth engines.
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