President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians in the diaspora to actively participate in the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President made the call in a video message to commemorate this year’s Diaspora Day which is being observed on July 25 of every year.
The statement was titled “COVID-19: President Buhari urges Nigerians in Diaspora to play active role in economic recovery as remittances inflow hit $25bn”.
Adesina said the President appealed to his compatriots, whose home remittances exceeded $25bn annually in three years, not to abandon their fatherland in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement quoted Buhari as saying, ”Over the past three years, Nigerians in the diaspora have brought in over $25bn annually as home remittances to the Nigerian economy through official and non-formal channels.
“This is about 6.0% of our annual GDP and upwards of 80% of our annual budget. This has impacted on livelihoods of Nigerians in terms of education, health, housing and estate development, industry, trade and investments, agriculture and technology/skills transfer.
“In terms of diaspora home remittances, Nigeria is rated as number one in sub-Saharan Africa and this is still growing especially with the advocacy and mobilisation programmes of the newly established Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
”Nigerians in Diaspora are also known to be engaged in skill transfer in ICT and industry. They are also active in our universities as lecturers, and in carrying out medical missions.
”It is, therefore, my sincere hope that even with the depressed economy under stress in the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians in the Diaspora will rise up to the occasion of not abandoning their country of origin, but be active in our post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.”
Buhari reportedly told participants from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania at the webinar that his three-point agenda for Nigerians in Diaspora remains the same and particularly relevant on the auspicious occasion.
Reiterating the agenda, the Nigerian leader said, ”You are our Ambassadors-at-large by your behaviour and character in your host countries.
”Whatever legitimate endeavour you choose, you must excel and be the best. ‘Do not forget home, Nigeria, by giving back and engaging in its development.”
The President also lauded the support and contributions of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, recounting fond memories of his several interactions with them at town hall meetings.