By Maureen Okon
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has called for close collaboration with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in the area of Diaspora Data Mapping, to encourage diasporas to contribute to the development of their country of origin.
Mr Frantz Celestin, Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, made the call at a meeting with the Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa in Abuja.
He stated that Diaspora Data Mapping was crucial to a nation’s development, adding that it was for that reason that the “Connecting Diaspora for Development” (CD4D-2) project, a wholly Diaspora-focused programme, was set up with support from the Government of the Netherlands.
He stressed that the primary focus of the project was to promote the dynamic role of the diaspora in the public and
private sectors in Nigeria.
According to Celestin, the collaboration is to enable the two organisations to work together to maximise the development potentialities of diasporas.
“So, we will work on three key areas and one is health, looking specifically at mental health and tuberculosis (TB) and the other one is agriculture, specifically looking at providing seeds to farmers.
“Then ICT. The world is driven more and more by information technology and Nigeria has a lot to offer, just as the diasporas have a lot to offer too.
“IOM has so much to do with NIDCOM, and today is a good day to bring into focus how our two respective organisations can work together to maximise the development potentials of the diaspora.
“We will look at how we can harness the existing skills in the Nigerian Diaspora for the development of Nigeria, specifically targeting institutions and areas where there is a need and where we identify the skills in the diasporas.
“Data is the main approach to use, because our intervention has to be data-driven to make sure we understand what is on the ground, what is needed, and what we can do with it.
“We observed Nigerians in Diaspora have given their host country so much and our goal is to make them come back home and bring some of their skills and experiences to their country of origin,’’ he said.
Responding, Dabiri-Erewa, who said that NIDCOM was happy to receive the delegation from IOM, expressed appreciation for the support the organisation had extended to Nigeria as a country.
“The commission is glad to receive IOM and I thank you for all you have done for Nigeria as a nation by helping to bring back stranded Nigerians in Libya and other parts of Europe, and in capacity building.
” You have been of great value to this country and we appreciate you.
“When I was in the National Assembly, the former head of mission was also supportive of the committee on diaspora.
“It was IOM that started talking on remittances and to push to the front burner, how important the diaspora is,’’ she said.
The NIDCOM boss underscored the need for an accurate, comprehensive, and efficient database for
Nigerians in Diaspoora.
She said that such database would give
verve to, and accentuate national planning and development through the
aggregation of diaspora resources.
Dabiri-Erewa expressed the belief that Diaspora Mapping would help identify the “demographic population of Nigerians across the world which has been based on estimation to about 17million”.
The NIDCOM chairman affirmed her
commitment to working assiduously with IOM for a successful database
of Nigerians in diaspora.
She further commended the IOM for its
support for the production of the Draft National Diaspora Policy.
The issue of a Diaspora Trust Fund was also discussed at the meeting. (NAN)