President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Abike Dabiri-Erewa as the first chairman and chief executive officer of the National Diaspora Commission.
Ms Dabiri-Erewa, who is currently the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, was a member of the House of Representatives representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency in Lagos from 2003-2015.
Nigeria Senate president, Bukola Saraki, read the president’s letter seeking legislative approval for the appointment at the plenary on Tuesday (6 November).
While she was at the House of Representatives, Dabiri-Erewa chaired the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs. In 2015, she was appointed as the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.
Then Acting President Yemi Osibanjo signed the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission Establishment Bill into law in July 2017, a development that was widely welcomed as giving teeth to the government’s self-professed desire to partner its citizens abroad.
With the appointment of a head of the commission, it can now commence operations.
The Diaspora Commission Act of 2017 established the commission under the supervisory jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It has the responsibility to coordinate and organise Nigerians in and from the Diaspora to contribute human capital and material resources, including their expertise, for the development of Nigeria and its constituent states,” Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), said in a statement last year July, while officially announcing that the acting president had assented to the Bill.
“It will also provide a database of Nigerians in various fields and potentialities as resource base for Nigeria and the world to draw from, as well as protect the interest of all Nigerians,” added Enang, explaining the functions of the Commission.
Dabiri-Erewa introduced the bill for the establishment of the Commission in 2011 when she was the chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Diaspora Affairs.