President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed support for the clamour by Nigerians resident abroad for Diaspora voting.
The President, who disclosed his disposition on the topic during a meeting with the Nigerian Community in Ethiopia (NICE), however explained that such a decision has to go through legislation.
Buhari also assured all Nigerians, both at home and abroad, of his administrations resolve to combat and defeat all acts of criminality, banditry and terrorism in the country.
He, however, appealed to all Nigerians to support and cooperate with security agencies, which he said are ready to defend and preserve the unity of the country.
The meeting, which was moderated by Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had observed a minute silence in honour of Nigerians brutally killed by Boko Haram terrorists on Monday in Borno State.
According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, while responding to a request by the leader of NICE, David Omozuafoh, on the issue of Diaspora voting, the President said he was in support of it, but noted that legislation was required to make it a reality.
”I have said it severally that I am not against it. However, you will need to convince National Assembly to amend the relevant laws to make Diaspora voting a reality,” he said.
Regarding the insecurity in parts of the country, President Buhari assured Nigerians, at home and abroad, that their protection would continue to remain a key priority of his administration, as well as fighting corruption and bringing prosperity to Nigerians.
On economic matters and doing business in Ethiopia, the Nigerian leader said he had been briefed on the challenges faced by some Nigerian companies with investments in the country, especially the Dangote Group and Lubcon.
”I have directed the relevant ministries to take up these issues with a view to resolving all complaints amicably with the Ethiopian authorities,” he said.
On the conduct of Nigerians living in the Diaspora, the President expressed concern that some of their actions have not projected the country in good light, urging them to change their ways and obey the laws of their countries of residence.
He, however, commended Nigerians in Ethiopia, noting that they had the highest concentration of professionals working in international organizations such as the African Union, United Nations agencies.
”This is a correct representation of the Nigerian spirit of excellence and high achievement,” he stressed.
President Buhari told the meeting that his government is committed to supporting and protecting all law-abiding Nigerians, at home and abroad, to prosper, urging all in the Diaspora to help achieve this by being good citizens and worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.
The President also encouraged them to be the best in all their legitimate engagements in their host country, reminding them: ”while you are out in the Diaspora, do not forget home as you represent some of the best human assets that Nigeria possesses.”
He, therefore, urged them to use their resources, skills and talents to help the development of Nigeria.
In his remarks at the meeting, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, Bankole Adeoye, extolled the huge investments of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Ethiopia since independence through the Embassy.
He described the Nigerian Embassy in Addis Ababa as one of the Nigerian missions in the whole of Africa with the largest diplomatic and residential premises.
”Nigeria has continued to live the saying that Africa is the centerpiece of her foreign policy especially with the many impacts in the AU, the United Nations Economic Community for Africa (UNECA) and Ethiopia as whole,” he said.
The Ambassador commended President Buhari for reciprocating the visit to Abuja of the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia given the country’s zeal to develop stronger ties with Nigeria.
He further extolled the President as one who has appointed the highest number of career ambassadors and attributed it to his flair for professionalism.
Also speaking, the President of NICE commended the President for the establishment of NiDCOM and his continuous leadership and contributions which have cemented Nigeria’s role as a central player in strengthening the AU.
Omozuafoh appealed to the Nigerian government to fast-track the implementation of the MoU with the United Nations on the Junior Professionals Programme allowing young Nigerians access to opportunities in international organizations.
”Similar opportunities should be explored with the UN Volunteers Programme, the AU Volunteers Corps as well as the ECOWAS Youth Volunteer Programme,” he said.
- Media Report