24th August, 2016
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, on Wednesday, advised Nigerians in foreign lands to help to improve the economy.
Dabiri-Erewa said this at the International Symposium on Oladudah Equiano held at the conference hall of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry.
The symposium was one of the events to mark the Badagry Diaspora Festival 2016.
Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by her Media Aide, Mr Balogun Abdur-Rahman, said that the contributions from the Diaspora would help in resolving economic challenges in Nigeria.
“The people in the Diaspora can help in improving the economy and we know how important they are to the nation, so moves are being made to encourage them to come back home.
“Just in 2015, Nigerians in the Diaspora sent home $21 billion and this were just the ones that were accounted for formally, so you can see how important they are to the country.
“They provide a large percentage and if they can be properly involved in the country, they would help in improving the economy.
“The government is exploring ways to lure Nigerians in the Diaspora so that they can have positive impact on the country, she said.
She said that infrastructure was the key to development of the country.
“In developing this country, infrastructure is very important because it would help in bringing in investors who would invest in the country.
“The Federal Government is making sure that infrastructure are put in place in the country so this would also encourage Nigerians in the Diaspora to come back home,” she said.
Mr Babatunde Mesewaku, the President, African Renaissance Foundation (AREFO), said that the annual Badagry Festival had encouraged Nigerians in the Diaspora to return to the country.
Mesawaku, who is also the chief organiser of the event, said that the festival would showcase the tourist attractions of the ancient city.
“The annual festival has been means to lure Nigerians in the Diaspora back to the country so we are always encouraged by that aspect.
“It always showcases to the world the tourist attractions of the ancient city because Badagry is the hub of tourism in Nigeria,” he said.
Dignitaries at the event included the Akran of Badagry, De Wholu Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, Mr Setonji David, member, Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Badagry II.
Prof. Anthony Asiwaju, Professor of Comparative African History, University of Lagos, was also at the event.