Zambia explores collaboration with NiDCOM on diaspora engagement

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By Maureen Okon

A delegation from Zambia on Thursday visited the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) in Abuja to study its approach in engaging with Nigerians in the diaspora and how that affects the economy of the nation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team, led by Zambia’s Assistant Labour Commissioner, Ms. Mukamasole Kasanda, was also accompanied by some officials of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

She said that the aim was to leverage the experience of Nigeria to strengthen Zambia’s diaspora engagement.

The official applauded NiDCOM for its efforts in the last few years, and said Zambia would learn from its experience.

“We are looking at establishing a migration resort center and in the last two days, this has been our homework.

“Your Constitution now allows for dual citizenship and it is a plus, we also worked on our constitution recently and one of the issues we looked at was to ensure that there was dual citizenship.

“We must commend you in ensuring that you lobby enough to have a law on Diaspora because it is very difficult to operate without a law, usually you have a lot of resistance from the general public and even within government itself,’’ she said.

Responding, NiDCOM Chairman Abike Dabiri-Erewa, represented by the Secretary of the commission, Dr Sule Bassi said Nigeria has a population of over 200 million out of which about 20 million Nigerians are in the diaspora contributing to their host communities’ GDP and that of Nigeria.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa gave the visiting delegation from Zambia an account of what Nigerians in the diaspora meant to the world and their country of origin.

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“Nigerians in Diaspora are a huge global economy drivers in different fields that they find themselves, which are healthcare, sports, entertainment, entrepreneurship amongst other.

“They remit 20 billion dollars yearly to the Nigeria economy.”

According to her, former U.S President Barack Obama once said when you remove Nigerians from the American healthcare system the medical field will collapse.

“We have eight Nigerians in the U.S Congress and also a Nigeria has established an Agege Bread Bakery in Canada.

“This is just a few of what the diaspora are doing and that is how important Nigerians are to their host communities,’’ she said.

The chairman, however, said that the commission was still grappling with the problem of harmonising the Diaspora and the home front for a stronger nation.

Also, speaking, IOM Regional Project Coordinator, Mr Sunday Omoyeni, said that when migration was effectively managed, it can create avenues for development.

According to him, leveraging on diaspora engagement is born out of the desire of Zambian government to exploit the migration dynamics.

“In Zambia, we have intra-regional migration which happens within the region compared to Nigeria where we have more of Nigerians who migrate outside the region.

“I think the region as a whole has come to the realisation of the need for them to leverage the migration dynamics for the development of the country.

“This also align with the principles of IOM in terms of ensuring that migration is beneficial.

“Migration is not just about problems, when migration is effectively managed it can create an avenue for development,’’ he said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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