The Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) is tenacious about promoting Nigeria’s image and connecting with the Nigerians in the Diaspora to bring home their talents, energy, expertise and cutting-edge technology to benefit the nation through investments in various fields.
Under the leadership of Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NIDCOM has made significant milestone on issues concerning Nigerians where ever they are found, including what they do in order to harness them for national development.
The commission played significant role in the repatriation of thousands of Nigerians trapped abroad especially at the peak of the COVID-19 devastations. It also sought justice for Nigerians who are mistreated abroad and strengthened the campaign to launder the image of the country battered by few criminally-minded Nigerians.
In recent times, the commission is at the forefront among those to bring to the fore, the achievements of Nigerians, who have given Nigeria good reputation in their various places of endeavours.
On August 30, the commission celebrated the appointment of Abiola Akinbiyi as First Nigerian Commissioner In Australia. Akinbiyi became the first Nigerian Community Representative Commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission in Australia.
The commission was also among those who celebrated Kamaru Usman, for retaining his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title at UFC 245 in Las Vegas, Nevada, after knocking out Colby Covington.
In a statement in December last year, the NIDCOM boss said that by the wonderful feat, Usman has brought honour and glory not only to himself but to Nigeria and the African Continent.
The Commission also got the commitment of the kick -boxer, who visited the country recently, to give back to the country, by setting up a sporting academy to give hope to young Nigerians to believe and work diligently for themselves and the country.
The NIDCOM boss had extended the same courtesies, to Anthony Joshua, another, Nigerian for reclaiming his World heavyweight boxing title.
There are many more the commission has done to celebrate Nigerians especially those who have been appointed and elected into important positions into the international organizations including those who won elections in the United States and other countries of the world and those appointed into powerful positions by the United States President Joe Biden. They are the real heroes and ambassadors of the country.
But of utmost importance is the attempt by the Commission to boost Diaspora investments leveraging on the immense remittances of about $25 billion yearly from the Nigerians in the Diaspora.
In March this year, the commission emphasized the need for collaboration with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on Diaspora Investment incentives for National Development.
The NiDCOM boss at a strategic meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku in Abuja, tasked NIPC to link their IGuide Nigeria Website with NiDCOM to guide investors on potential investment portfolios domiciled in various States across the Country.
Through the commission’s mobile Application, it would create easy access to information and petitions as it is discovered that Nigeria receives more money from its Diaspora as much
as it does from crude oil. The Diaspora remittances are a global growing business if converted to Diaspora investment and will enhance the gross domestic product.
Nigerians living in the Diaspora are said to be interested in impact investment but their major challenge is finding the right partners to do business with.
However, the collaboration between the NIDCOM and State Governors may encourage the Nigerians in the Diaspora in investing to enhance national development especially with the unveiling of the National Diaspora Policy.
The Vision, Mission And Goal Vision of the National Diaspora Policy is “ to effectively promote and harness the capacity and resources of Nigerians in the Diaspora for the growth and the development of the nation; To empower Nigerians in the Diaspora as change agents for the development of Nigeria through promoting a framework for them to maximize their potentials in capital, knowledge, and networks and to Constructive engagement of Nigerians in the Diaspora for sustainable national development.”
The nation’s investment drive may have also received a boost during this year’s Diaspora Day celebration on July 25, as the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has pledged to negotiate better trade deals for Nigeria.
While participating virtually at the 2021 National Diaspora Day celebration tagged “Diaspora Integration for National Peace and Development” organized NIDCOM) in Abuja, Okonjo-Iweala promised to help build the capacity of the SMEs in Nigeria to make their goods competitive at the international market.
“In order for us to benefit more from the trade, we have to add value to our own products and so, we have an investment facilitation agreement here at the WTO that we are negotiating. Once we do that, it’s something that can create a better environment to attract investment.
“That investment would now birth more industries, manufacturing, keeping jobs at home and then with trade with the other countries; this is also something that is very important,” she said.
The optimism and deliberate efforts of the NIDCOM notwithstanding , the economic downturn in recent years and the concomitant high level of unemployment put at 33%, dwindling capital inflows and Foreign Direct Investments, which reduced by 50% and inflation at over 17% pose immense challenges to the investment drive.
The worsening level of insecurity perpetrated by the Boko Haram, armed militia and bandits roaming the Nigerian landscape, killing, maiming and kidnapping for ransom, is another form of disincentive for investment and a drawback on the enormous efforts being made by the commission and the federal government.
In recent times, the stories of internet fraud of international dimensions involving young Nigerians, corruption, political instability and the increasing level of cyber crime among the youth in country according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), compounds Nigeria’s image abroad. There has been some poor treatment of Nigerian diplomats in Indonesia and Congo amid unpleasant stories of ordinary Nigerians being mistreated abroad. This clearly shows there is a lot of work to be done at home to first and foremost stop the massive movements of Nigerians to seek greener pastures abroad.
According to public affairs analyst and international affairs expert, Livingstone Wechie, “unless the issues of insecurity are resolved and deliberate policies initiated to revamp the Nigerian economy to reduce unemployment and the increasing poverty in the country, the needed investment may elude the country.”