The chairman said this on Tuesday at a news conference held ahead of the commission’s 2020 National Diaspora Day Celebration scheduled for July 25, with the theme: “Leveraging Diaspora Resources for National Development.”
According to her, the celebration, which customarily deserves pomp and glamour, but will be marked solemnly due to the global health challenge threatening the world – the COVID-19 Pandemic.
She said, ”The Diaspora forms an integral part of a nation; host or homeland but more importantly to the country of origin.
“This reason alone forms the basis to set aside a day to applaud our diasporas and dialogue on issues affecting the diaspora.
“Nigeria cherishes and lauds the efforts of all her diasporas worldwide that a Commission was established to ‘engage and utilise the human, capital and material resources of this demography in the socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria’.
“Since its commencement, NIDCOM has in the last one year made some commendable achievements, if I must say so myself. Some of the key ones are:
“It embarked on series of interventions to ameliorate attacks on black Africans in South Africa including Nigerians.
The commission received the first and second batches of stranded Nigerians back home in Lagos on Sept. 11, and Sept. 18, 2019. A total of 501 returnees consisting of 187 and 314 Nigerians respectively.”
She also noted that as COVID-19 is still on a rampage, NIDCOM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions around the world have evacuated and are still evacuating stranded Nigerians anywhere in the world.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the update of the evacuation thus far:
US – 3 batches – 806, UK. 3 batches. – 831; Saudi Arabia. – 117, Cairo, Egypt – 372; France – 70, India. 3 batches – 540; UAE Dubai. 5 batches – 1,405, Turkey 2 batches – 324, Sudan 3 batches – 365 Uganda and Kenya – 172.
Others are: Senegal – 17; Pakistan – 56; Egypt – 102; China – 268; Malaysia and Thailand 247; Lebanon – 147; Canada – 51; South Africa – 324; Ghana- 205; all Totaling 6,317.
Also, with the support of other African Countries and Air Peace Nigeria Ltd, there has been multiple evacuations from some countries.
Others achievements since NIDCOM inception are; the State Diaspora Focal Point Officers Meetings, Diaspora Accolade of their humanitarian skills and of their Good deeds abroad, Resue missions and intervention for Nigerians abroad.
Finally, with donations by some organisations, well-meaning Nigerians, the commission in conjunction with some private sector and NGOs held the third in the series of Diaspora Door of Return in Badagry in Lagos from October 15 to 20, 2019, where the Diasporas made a pilgrimage to their motherland.
NAN also reports that the commission would be marking one year of its establishment and the 15th Edition after its commencement in 2006.
Dabiri-Erewa said that their efforts alone, couldn’t have been feasible without the help of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari and most importantly, the Diaspora.