The permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, has assured Nigerians in the Diaspora that the Federal Government would not relent in supporting their activities.
He explained that, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (UNIDO) were partners in progress going by years of working together to harness the potentials of the expertise of Nigerians in Diaspora to enhance the competence of home professionals, especially in health, education and the infrastructural sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Aduda, revealed that it was widely acknowledged back home that Nigerians in Diaspora by way of remittances contribute to national development amounting to about N25billion Naira annually, with the nation now occupying the first position in the Sub-region.
In that regard, Mr. Gabriel Tanimu, intimated that, it had just been resolved at the Nigerian Diaspora Day held in Abuja on 25th July, 2018, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working assiduously in ensuring that fundamental human rights of Nigerians in Diaspora were protected in every part of the world.
He was speaking at the Nigerians In Diaspora Organizations (NIDO) Africa’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) under the theme, “Promoting Regional Integration and Economic Development”, held in Accra, on Thursday 13th December, 2018, at the University of Development Studies (UDS) guest house.
According to Mr. Gabriel Aduda, Nigerian Diaspora Commission had been signed into law in good time just as was promised by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha at the aforementioned Diaspora Day celebration in Abuja on 25th July, 2018.
He explained that, the establishment of the Commission will in no small measure seek to bridge the interface gap between the Government and Diaspora. Adding that, it will also enhance proper coordination and effective engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora for national development.
He however reassured of the earnest take-off of the Commission, and further enjoined them to set goals and identify key areas to support the Government for the purpose of creating wealth and employment to promote economic growth and development.
He therefore seized the opportunity to call on Nigerians in Diaspora to see themselves as worthy ambassadors of their dear country where ever they find themselves, and continuously support measures against “safe havens” for illicit financial outflows from and within Africa.
Mr. Gabriel Tanimu went on that, while acknowledging that the social and economic costs of corruption and illicit financial flows were massive, and had continued to stunt the development of Africa, the President Muhammadu Buhari cited a 2015 study by an African Union Panel led by Thabo Mbeki, which alluded that about US$2.5billion of the US$50 billion of illicit financial flows was in respect of commercial activities.
“Most of you engaged in commercial activities, most ensure that your businesses are genuine and legitimate in all ramifications. Looking at activities lined up for this event, I am sure that the Nigerian Diaspora Commission has been signed into law in good time indeed,” he stated.
That notwithstanding, he said “As part of the set goals of ECOWAS, creation of an enabling environment for intra-regional trade has been the bases of the organization. Although, noticeable milestone has been recorded, much efforts are still required to drive the development agenda in the region.
“The integration of ECOWAS member states is driven by political and economic rationales: to promote the unity of states and enhanced economic development. Economic integration is also a political process because of two main reasons, first; it requires the surrender of major national economic instruments to a supranational authority and second; it calls for governments of member states to implement sub-regional policies. It also calls for development of infrastructure in the region to accelerate economic development.
“We believe that improved governance and structural transformation in the region will bring about the desired ease of doing business and movement of people, goods and services, as well as improvement of balance of payment through increased quality imports and exports to sister states.”
This, he said was however dependent on the expansion of the production frontier of the economy of ECOWAS member states encompassing deliberate national efforts, independent of any regional integration arrangements.
Mr. Gabriel also said, this could be complemented with regional coordination of production processes, as well as strong commitment and implementation of regional trade agreements. Regional integration exercises, he again noted could not be a substitute to sound individual national development initiatives.
Saying that, “The African Union (AU) as Regional bloc, has a lot to emulate from the European Union (EU) success story, hinged on veritable opportunities availed by open borders and markets.”
The Diaspora, both in and out of Africa according to him was positioned and must leverage its acquired knowledge, professionalism, experiences and connections to enhance the fortunes of the business community with ideas for developing new products, new markets, and new ways of doing business.
On his part, the President of NIDO, Ghana Chapter, Chief Harrison Mba Kalu, noted that, back home in Nigeria, when issues of the country’s human resources in the diaspora were considered, emphasis always tended to focus primarily on those residing in Europe and North America.
He explained that, it was believed that those economies were the most developed, thus Nigerians residing there would automatically have the strongest economic resources.
According to him, no empirical evidence could support the assertion in anyway. Saying, “comparing the economic resources of a Nigerian living in Ghana or any other African country, with that of a Nigerian residing in say, America or Britain, is like comparing apples with oranges. Apart from material resources, other factors such as cultural experiences and business operating environments and markets, vary widely between countries.”
He added that, “It is time for us to leverage on this crucial advantage for our own good and that of our fatherland. This then is the right time for us as Nigerians in the diaspora to put our resources to work in our country. No matter our individual political preferences, our nation needs our resources and has the capacity to richly reward those of us who apply our resources prudently.”
The King of the Igbo Community in Ghana, HRM (Dr) Chukwudi Ihenetu, Eze Ohazurume I, Eze Ndi Igbo Ghana, also underscored the need for Africans to uphold their culture in high esteem in order not to lose their true identity.
He changed Africans to understand that they were having their own cultures before the coming of their colonial masters.
Eze Ndi Igbo Ghana, HRM Eze Dr. Amb. Chukwudi Ihenetu, noted that the establishment of NIDO was purposely to bring the government of Nigeria closer to its people wherever they may be, to be part of their deliberations, AGMs, gatherings etc, to enlighten them on issues and happenings back in Nigeria as it is and not any exaggerations.
However, HRM commended the government of Ghana for showing unconditional love to Nigerians dwelling in Ghana over the years, and assured Ghanaians that the Nigerians in Ghana would respect the traditional laws of the land.
Prominent attendants to grace the event were, Mr. Akintola Michael, BOT Ghana NIDO, Miss. Chinwe Ekeogu, NIDO senegal, Chief Callistus Elezieuwo,BOT Chairman, NIDO Ghana, HRH. Eze Samuel Ekezie, Igbo sub King, Sempe Accra, Eng. Geoffrey Daniels, President BOT libaria, and many others.