The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) says over 17 million Nigerians, globally, with skills, knowledge, network and experiences are indispensable assets which can be harnessed to bolster Nigeria’s progress and development.
The Chairman of NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a news conference ahead of the 17th annual National Diaspora Day scheduled for July 25 and 26.
Dabiri-Erewa acknowledged that the Diaspora was making feats, internationally, in fields like education, medicine, health, sports, media and entertainment, leadership and politics, finance, science, transportation, tourism, industry and agribusiness.
The chairman noted that Nigeria was blessed with a diverse Diaspora population, worldwide, and possessed the potential to contribute to national development.
“We must accept that the Diaspora characterises a powerful force for change, not because of the financial remittances, but because they pose a lot more than the figures remitted.
“They are the link to our past and present, and possibly our hope for a better future for Nigeria.
“These men and women from Nigeria, therefore, must be intentionally celebrated in every possible way for their role as ambassadors of our dear country globally; trendsetters in various walks of life but most importantly in encouraging them to invest in the sustainable growth of the country.
“Hence, the celebration each year is to recognise them and mainstream them into our national development agenda,” she said.
She called for collaborative efforts between the government, private and public sectors, the Diaspora and other stakeholders in effective Diaspora engagement, to bridge the gap and build a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria.
Also, the chairman said the National Diaspora Day was declared in 2006 and was the fifth in the series since the establishment of NiDCOM in May 2019.
She further said the theme for 2023 Diaspora day is: “Consolidating Diaspora Engagement for National Development”.
Moreso, Dabiri-Erewa said among the programme would be the first time Diaspora Merit Awards.
The main event would be held on July 25, at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, while the Diaspora Merit Awards would be on July 26.