Nigerians in Diaspora remitted some $21 billion in the last one year just as the federal government put the number of Nigerian citizens living abroad; legitimately registered and gainfully employed at 15 million.
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) who stated this also said that “It is in recognition of the worthy contributions of Nigerians in Diaspora to national development that the Nigeria Diaspora Day was instituted in 2005’’
Anyim was delivering an address at a press briefing to herald the upcoming Diaspora Day/Conference in Abuja at the weekend and said that this year’s 2013 Diaspora Day would feature activities such as youth empowerment programmes, medical missions, capacity-building workshops, Diaspora conference and others.
Anyim said the Diaspora Day is an opportunity for Nigerian professionals and experts living abroad to meet with professional in the country for productive dialogue.
The SGF expressed Federal Government’s commitment to supporting Nigerian Diaspora to enable them participate actively in national affairs.
Anyim said the Nigerian National Volunteer Service was collaborating with the International Organisations for Migration and other stakeholders in drafting a national policy on the Nigerian Diaspora.
He said that Nigerian in Diaspora were about 15 million Nigerians effectively engaged with better activities, adding that about 500 are registered.
The SGF urged them to invest in Nigeria to promote development. “I want to specially invite Nigerians in the Diaspora to take full advantage of the business opportunities in Nigeria. Come together and open hospitals and bring experts; that will make you to always remember your home and also help in the development of the nation,’’ he said.
He said the 2013 Diaspora Day would be unique because of the ongoing Nigeria centenary celebration as they would have the opportunity to participate in outlined activities and projects.
According to him, one of the projects that will be of interest to them is the Centenary City, conceived to be a modern city with world-class infrastructure and facilities.
The SGF said the Centenary City, a private sector-driven project, offers rare investment opportunities to the Diaspora.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairperson, House Committee on Diaspora, commended the SGF and the committee for their commitment to Diaspora Day celebration.
Dabiri-Erewa appealed to the Nigerians in Diaspora to work together to ensure success of the celebration.