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Senate wants ministry status for Diaspora commission

The Senate has advocated the upgrade of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to a Ministry in order to meet its obligations to millions of citizens in foreign countries.

The red chamber made the call when it’s Committee on the Diaspora and Nongovernmental Organisations had an engagement with the officials of the NIDCOM, led by its Chairman, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The NIDCOM boss had earlier told the panel that the agency was having serious challenges in meeting with its mandate due to poor funding.

Dabiri-Erewa specifically said her office was finding it difficult to help some Nigerian in critical situation in foreign lands because there were no provision for foreign trips for her officials.

The Chairman also said government had yet to reimburse her for the three trips she recently embarked upon on behalf of Nigeria.

Dabiri-Erewa said, “It is in the act that we should have five diasporean offices, but we don’t have money. It’s in the act but we don’t have money.

“Some diasporeans help us out when we travel. The diasporea is the most important thing for Nigeria right now and I can tell you that we havent even engaged 10 percent of our diaspora.

” What we always do is that we have been using technology. We plead to the National Assembly to assist us so that we could have continental offices so that we would be able to have direct access to Nigerians in the Disapora.

“Our inability to have offices abroad is not allowing us to engage 10 per cent of Nigerians in the Diaspora.”

The panel in its reaction noted that the responsibilities placed on the NIDCOM was more than what an agency could handle.

Members of the panel also suggested that the Technical Aids Corps should be under the direct supervision of NIDCOM.

The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Michael Nnachi, asked the Legal department of NIDCOM to liase with the National Assembly with a view to amending the Act that established it.

He said, “There is the need to upgrade NIDCOM to a full-flegded ministry. The legal department should start work towards the review of the Act.

” The National Assembly is ready to support and work with you to make your agency a full-fledged ministry

“That would enable you to have adequate funding to sustain you and empower the agency to carry out it’s mandate.

“We believe that your agency has a lot of responsibilities to the Nigerian in the Diaspora. We need to encourage them to come and invest here.

“NIDCOM has a lot of roles to play. The leadership of the National Assembly will be interested in you delivering on your mandate.”

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