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Nigerians living abroad are world class—Bankole

Source: africanexaminer.com

Abuja, March 2, 2010 The Speaker, House of Representatives has described Nigeria

professionals in the Diaspora as world-class who are celebrated and acknowledged

abroad.
Bankole said this while declaring open a one-day public hearing on a bill for an Act to

establish the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission being sponsored by Rep. Abike Dabiri-

Erewa.
Represented by Rep Emeka Ihedioha, Chief Whip, the speaker said Nigeria has scholars

and intellectuals who are acknowledged and celebrated in Universities and research

institutes abroad.
``Our musicians, medical practitioners and sportsmen are another segment of our

Diaspora community who have made tremendous marks in their respective areas of

professional calling'' he said.
He said the House appreciated the potential resource-base of the Diaspora communities

and what impact it could exert in the desired transformation of the country.

With the annual remittance of Nigerians in Diaspora over 11 billion dollars, Bankole said

the Diaspora community are capable of mobilizing substantial investment and

development capital.
``We, therefore, need to search out these geniuses, recognise and empower them to play

the transformational role which their colleagues played in the revival of the economies of

some of the Asian countries'' he said.
Bankole said the proposed Diaspora Commission would help to unleash the force of

technological, socio-political, scientific and innovative power in Nigeria through mobilizing

the intellectual and creative energies of the Diaspora professionals.

In her welcome address, the chairman of the House committee on Diaspora, Rep Abike

Dabiri-Erewa said 15 countries have full Diaspora ministries, dedicated solely to Diasporas

while about 10 countries have Diaspora institutions, dealing with Diaspora matters.

The lawmaker said there was need for a central organisation where all matters concerning

best practises as regards her Diaspora would be tackled and Diaspora programmes

coordinated in a systematic manner.
``Right now in Nigeria, various departments and agencies dealing with Diaspora issues

are fragmented. So therefore, it would be necessary to have a central body where

Diaspora issues can be systematically and adequately handled'' she said.

stakeholders in the Bill include Nigeria in Diaspora Organisations, (NIDO) in America,

Europe, France, UK, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Planning Commission, various

socio-cultural groups, Fidelity Diaspora Banking , Embassies of India among others

expressed their support for the proposed commission.

The bill, which was sponsored by Dabiri-Erewa and 16 other lawmakers has seven clauses

and 23 sections and had gone through second reading in the House of Representatives.

The proposed bill seeks to establish Nigerians in Diaspora (Establishment) Commission

and provide for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the policies, projects and

participation in the development of Nigeria.
It also for the purpose of utilising the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in

Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria.

Over 17. 5 million Nigerians are living abroad with over three million of them residing in

America.

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