By Victor Asije
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and The Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Thursday announced that there were currently about 15 million Nigerians in various parts of the world.
Dabiri-Erewa made the announcement at the Island Club, Lagos, in a lecture entitled: “Nigerians in The Diaspora: Strengths and Challenges in Pursuit of National Development’’.
The Senior Special Assistant said that Nigerians living in the different countries of world were not all completely bad, but many of them were doing “excellently well’’ in their professions.
“We have found out that there are currently about 15 million Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“We have Nigerians in different parts of the world. Although, we have the good, the bad and the ugly, Nigeria has proud stories to share of many of her Diaspora nationals.
“Let us always celebrate the good things that many of our globally celebrated Nigerians in the Diaspora are doing today,’’ she said.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the Federal Government was working at engaging Nigerians in the Diaspora in contributing to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
She also said that the government was looking at the possibility, under the presidential initiative for excellence, to make Nigerian medical doctors abroad, to come home during their vacations, to enhance national healthcare delivery.
The senior special assistant said that the establishment of a Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora, would help government the harness the potential of Nigerians living outside the country.
“We are also looking at the possibility of having a Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“We need an institution to deal with Nigerians in the Diaspora, otherwise, we will just be paying lip service to issues concerning such Nigerians,’’ she said.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the government was also working on a system that would sensitise young Nigerians aspiring to travel abroad on possibilities and challenges in such countries.
Amb. Segun Akinsanya, the Dean of The Diplomatic Corner, one of the conveners of the Lecture, said that the event was organised to stimulate public interest and reactions to the welfare of Nigerians abroad.
Akinsanya described Dabiri-Erewa as an accomplished journalist and broadcaster, and a voice for the voiceless.
The lecture brought together former Nigerian Ambassadors to various countries of the world, who used the opportunity to ask Dabiri-Erewa pertinent questions on Nigeria’s foreign policy and the welfare of Nigerians abroad.
The well-attended lecture was jointly organised by the Diplomatic Corner and the Centre Table Group of the Island Club, a premier elite club in Lagos.