*Says Diaspora remittances enhancing development index of Nigeria
By KEMI KASUMU
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja endorsed the establishment of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund (NDITF), a private sector investment window with Nigerians in the Diaspora to support direct investments in the country.
Speaking at the presentation of a compendium entitled +600 Diaspora Icons @ 60, published by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), the President said Nigeria is open to welcoming the Diaspora Direct Investment by compatriots abroad.
The President, who also pledged support for the establishment of the Diaspora Intervention Fund to support the Commission to fulfil its mandate, noted that the foreign exchange remittances by Nigerians in the Diaspora have not only helped families but enhanced the development index of Nigeria.
According to Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement he sent to The DEFENDER on Tuesday, the President described the 327-page compendium as a historical record of the worth of our compatriots globally, adding that the distinguished list in the publication is a reminder of what Nigerians are capable of doing to the delight of the global community.
‘‘Irrespective of the few bad eggs among us, and every nation has such bad eggs, Nigeria remains a great country, populated by great people, living at home or abroad, making us proud.
‘‘This compendium attests to that fact and the names of people and the fields they have excelled speak about their resilience and how exceptional Nigerians, both at home and abroad, have become.’’
The President reminded Nigerians that it is their duty to extol and celebrate compatriots that excel in their chosen careers and professions.
‘‘No one else will do so for us. Rather, other people will tend to capitalise on the few bad eggs and characterise us in their own narratives, narratives that seek to characterise us in bad light. We must not allow that to happen.
‘‘As we launch the compendium of excellent Nigerians today, we are also celebrating some of our best, nationally and globally.
‘‘I call on every Nigerian, irrespective of where they may be, to continue to be of exemplary behaviour and with determination to offer quality services that contribute to the progress of humanity.’’
While congratulating those whose names made it to this first edition, President Buhari encouraged others to work more conscientiously to make the list in the subsequent editions.
Recounting his engagements with Nigerians in the Diaspora during his official travels abroad, the President said his Diaspora threefold agenda remains unchanged.
‘‘Nigerians in the Diaspora are our Ambassadors-at-large by their character, comportment and daily actions.
‘‘They should be the best and excel in all their endeavours and they should ‘give back’ by contributing to the development of Nigeria.’’
The President commended the Diaspora Commission led by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa for the energy and innovative steps they put together to ensure better engagements with the Diaspora Community.
‘‘Rebuilding Nigeria is not the responsibility of Nigerians who live at home alone but of every Nigerian irrespective of the place of domicile,’’ he said.
In her remarks, the Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM, Dabiri-Erewa said the idea of the compendium was inspired from the regular Diaspora Presidential Town Hall meetings.
‘‘The compendium is birthed out of the necessity to recognise, celebrate and showcase Nigerians in the Diaspora who are doing great things in their host countries and also contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria,’’ she said.
Dabiri-Erewa explained that the Commission plans to publish the compendium at regular intervals, towards changing the negative stereotypes typified by the activities of a few Nigerians who do not represent the country well.
More photographs from the event below: