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We’ve not abandoned returnees from South Africa, says Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NDC), says a Diaspora Policy for Nigeria has been sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for ratification. We’ve not abandoned returnees.

Dabiri-Erewa disclosed this to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. She expressed optimism that the document would be considered by the council in the New Year.

The chairman said she was in the Presidential Villa to brief the president on the activities of the commission which was set up in May. “We have dealt with a lot of issues — xenophobic attacks in South Africa and those who have returned; recently too, young Nigerians stranded in Croatia returned and we received them in the office.

“We have various engagements; we have sent the Diaspora Policy to the FEC; hopefully, it will be considered in the New Year. “The Diaspora policy is a holistic policy that actually will guide all Diaspora engagements; it covers all aspects of Diaspora engagements. We’ve not abandoned returnees.

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“It will transcend virtually every ministry that has to do with Diaspora; every department and agency; already, we are working with states; 13 states have focal persons on Diaspora; there are two commissioners for Diaspora. “Ondo State has a House Committee on Diaspora Chairman, and we hope that other states will have their focal persons because we need to also move to the sub-national governments in terms of Diaspora engagements.

“We believe that if we are able to have this policy; it will actually revolutionise a lot of things in this country.’’ Dabiri-Erewa said that she briefed the president on the short, medium and long term goals of the commission. She said that the president had instructed that wherever Nigerians were, their welfare should be paramount.

According to her, in line with the president’s directive, the commission is always engaging with Nigerians wherever they are to make sure no one is neglected.

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