The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Sen. (Dr) Ibrahim Oloriegbe, has described Nigerians in the Diaspora as the greatest assets of the country with their contributions to the nation’s development.

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In a statement made available to Transport Day, Oloriegbe, who led other committee members on inaugural oversight functions to the headquarters of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abuja said the Nigerians abroad are diverse in their respective contributions to country’s development.

The Senate Committee was received by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM and her Management team.

According to the Senator, Nigerians in the Diaspora constitute a significant proportion of the population, not in terms of number alone but in terms of their importance to the economy of the country.

The excited Sen. Oloriegbe said that despite the paucity of funds allocated to NIDCOM, the Commission has been able to annex the potentials of the Nigerians abroad adding that they have also lived to expectations.

He said the committee visit was basically to conduct oversight functions on the Commission as required by law and see further areas of interventions.

He said “I am happy that we are the first Committee to oversight the Commission after it came into existence last year.

This Commission looks so small but the responsibility put on it is very big, not only big in terms of the volume but very critical and important both for the country in terms of security and touching the lives of the individuals especially the citizens abroad.”

Responding, the NIDCOM Chairman, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa thanked the Committee for being there for the Commission during its trying period, saying its top priority is working on the Database of Nigerians in the Diaspora and encouraging Diaspora investments.

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She said that the National Diaspora Policy, which had been validated by all stakeholders and development partners, has been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for presentation to the Federal Executive Council for approval as that will solve some of the challenges confronting the administration of Diaspora affairs in Nigeria.

Abike listed other activities of the commission in the last one year of its creation as holding National Diaspora Day, Nigerians Diaspora Investment Summit, the Badagry Door of Return and inauguration of the State Focal point officers.

Others, according to her, include the signing of MoU with some stakeholders, Investment summit with Nigerians in Saudi Arabia, evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad, Diaspora Housing project with Federal Mortgage Bank and collaboration with some international organisations.

She also requested for the intervention of the committee in the areas of increased funding of the Commission, reduction of charges charged by IMTOs on remittances by those abroad and support for the commission to have its own office accommodation.