The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE), Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, has called on Nigerians travelling home for Christmas to be good ambassadors of the Diaspora.
In his end-of-the-year message to Nigerians living in Europe, Gbandi pleaded with his countrymen and women travelling home for the yuletide to use the opportunity “for knowledge transfer, mentoring, empowerment and to give a true and realistic picture of the situation in Europe” to their families and friends in Nigeria.
While congratulating Nigerians for witnessing the end of another year, he said that NIDOE was exploring all opportunities to contribute to finding solutions to the socio-economic problems affecting Nigeria.
Gbandi mentioned the NIDO housing investment summit, which took place in the Portuguese capital Lisbon in November, as part of its efforts to attract Diaspora investment into the housing sector in the country. He added that the group was unrelenting in his bid to make the Diaspora play a bigger role in Nigeria’s economic development.
Gbandi encouraged Nigerians abroad to market their homeland as a destination for trade and investment in their countries of residence. “The task of diversifying the Nigerian economy needs Diaspora support if it’s to have any chances of success,” he wrote. He pointed to the role of the Diaspora in the economic dynamism of countries like India and China and expressed his confidence that Nigerians abroad were capable of playing the role of a catalyst in their country’s economic upliftment as well.
Ghandi also touched the issue of migration, saying Africans abroad must seek at all times to give a true picture of life in the Diaspora to their compatriots at home as a way of dissuading young people from risking their lives by embarking on irregular migration to Europe based on unrealistic expectations.
He lauded the federal government for its ongoing efforts to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Libya, calling for stiffer penalties for human traffickers who deceive would-be migrants into venturing into what he described “as the odyssey of seeking to reach Europe through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean”.
The NIDOE chairman assured that the organisation was committed to representing the interests of Nigerians at all times and appealed for greater support for it to enable it fulfil its mission.