Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr. Frantz Celestin and Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has agreed on a collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in order to accurately and comprehensively map out an efficient database for Nigerians in the Diaspora towards their full integration and effective participation in nation-building.

The Chairman and CEO of NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa said this at a meeting with a delegation from the IOM led by its Chief of Mission, Mr. Frantz Celestin in Abuja. She said that an efficient database would give vigour to NIDCOM’s deliverabes and intensify national planning and development through the aggregation of diaspora resources.

Dabiri-Erewa further emphasised that Diaspora Mapping would help identify the demographic population of Nigerians across the world which is estimated to be about 17million. She further commended the IOM for its support for the production of the Draft National Diaspora Policy.

Appreciating the IOM, Dabiri-Erewa thanked the delegation, stating that the organisation has been of great value to the country by helping to bring back stranded Nigerians in Libya and other parts of Europe, and in capacity-building.   She said “When I was in the National Assembly, the former head of mission was also supportive of the committee on diaspora…It was IOM that started talking on remittances and to push to the front burner, how important the diaspora is. “You can count on this commission to work very well with you. We have a group of hardworking dedicated young people here who really want to succeed,’’

Mr. Celestin, stated that the collaboration is to enable the two organisations to work together to maximise the development potentialities of diasporans.

He also said that Diaspora Data Mapping was crucial to a nation’s development, adding that it was for that reason that the “Connecting Diaspora for Development” (CD4D-2) project, a wholly Diaspora-focused programme, was set up with support from the Government of the Netherlands. He stressed that the primary focus of the project was to promote the dynamic role of the diaspora in the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

He said “So, we will work on three key areas and one is health, looking specifically at mental health and tuberculosis (TB) and the other one is agriculture, specifically looking at providing seeds to farmers. Then ICT as the world is driven more and more by information technology and Nigeria has a lot to offer, just as the diasporas have a lot to offer too.

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“IOM has so much to do with NIDCOM, and today is a good day to bring into focus how our two respective organisations can work together to maximise the development potentials of the diaspora. “We will look at how we can harness the existing skills in the Nigerian Diaspora for the development of Nigeria, specifically targeting institutions and areas where there is a need and where we identify the skills in the diasporas.

“Data is the main approach to use, because our intervention has to be data-driven to make sure we understand what is on the ground, what is needed, and what we can do with it.

“We observed Nigerians in Diaspora have given their host country so much and our goal is to make them come back home and bring some of their skills and experiences to their country of origin,’’ he said.

NIDCOM and IOM thereafter pledged to work closely together to make Nigerians in Diaspora contribute more effectively towards the rapid and solid development of the nation across various sectors especially health-delivery, education and critical infrastructure.

Yetunde Adegoke

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