The Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said that Federal Government has so far evacuated 6,317 Nigerians back home.
Dabiri-Erewa disclosed this on Tuesday while addressing Journalists on the forthcoming National Diaspora Day celebration slated for 25th July 2020 with the theme “Leveraging Diaspora resources for national development.
She however said there are some Nigerians still stranded abroad and awaiting evacuation since the global lockdown in March 20 occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, the evacuees are from 19 countries across the globe.
She said, Currently, as COVID-19 is still on rampage, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions around the world have evacuated 6, 317 and still evacuating stranded Nigerians anywhere in the world”.
Dabiri-Erewa gives the breakdown as follow: 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 & Kenya – 172; Senegal – 17; Pakistan – 56; Egypt – 102; China. – 268; Malaysia & Thailand 247; Lebanon – 147; Canada. – 51; South Africa – 324 and Ghana- 205.”
She also described as very depressing the challenges some Nigerians are going through in Lebanon and Oman.
She was sure that the country will be able to successfully evacuate them while also urging the House of Representative Committee on Diaspora Commission to unravel all the circumstances surrounding trafficking of Nigerians.
She said, “is very depressing the number of Nigerians stranded in Lebanon, Oman. So we want to work with other agencies to see whether we can do what we did in Libya and just bring them back. That is the plan, while at the same time we expect NAPTIP to deal with the agents who are trafficking these girls. How did they get out? I think that is part of what the committee is trying to unravel.”
She said the committee on Diaspora should be allowed to get to the bottom of the issue so as to protect young Nigerians from being trafficked outside the country.
On maltreatment of Nigerians, she said “As we get them we deal with them. I just told you about Indian now. The latest one was in India and when they see that you are standing up for your citizens, nobody will take you for granted.
“However, as the president always says let us behave ourself anywhere we found ourselves. Let us be good ambassadors of our country but where a Nigerian is wrongly treated, we will surely be there.”
On diaspora voting she said it has been listed by the National Assembly; adding that it is going to be part of the constitutional amendment and that action has been taken.
She revealed that at a recent stakeholders forum, all issues sorrounding the idea of diaspora voting was looked at.
While noting that it may not be easy to implement, NIDCOM boss however said Nigeria must have its own home grown solution that will suit the country’s peculiarity.
She said the process demands for lots of reviews.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Executive arm she said are ready but the country is only waiting for the National Assembly so as to look at all areas of the law.
So for me diaspora voting should not be an issue of when, it just have to happen,” she said.
Speaking on the Diaspora day celebration, Dabiri-Erewa said the 2020 . National Diaspora day Celebration would be by webinar because of the pandemic. Hoping that next year there would be an opportunity for an elaborate celebration.
”We are proud of diaspora day, it will get bigger with time. This is the 15th national diaspora day celebration, and the second since NIDCOM’s inception”.
She said the commission looks forward to a productive celebration, through webinar adding that Tuface idibia will perform, also a Cake will be cut in UK to mark the day.
She appreciated the various Nigerians in Diaspora groups for the donations made especially to medical personnel on the front line as part of their contributions towards fighting the Coronavirus. PPEs and sanitizers worth millions of naira were donated by Nigerians in Diaspora for use by medical personnel in the 36 states and FCT