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From left: Dr. Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, Convener of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit Abuja and Convener of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit Abuja; Kenneth Gbandi, the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE); and Hon. Collins Nweke, municipal legislator in Belgium participating in a panel discussion during the 3-day conference / Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Communiqué of the 2nd Nigerian Global Diaspora Conference April 2019, Almere, Netherlands

Introduction

The 2nd Nigerian Global Diaspora Conference held at the Royal Event Centre, Almere, Netherlands, from Thursday 24 to Saturday 27 April 2019 under the theme “Mobilizing Diaspora Human Capital & Providing Policy Framework for a United Homeland Engagement-Post Diaspora Commission”.

The event, a follow-up to the Nigerian Diaspora Global Development Conference held in London in July 2018, sought to fashion an overarching framework for an increased Diaspora engagement in Nigeria.

The 2019 conference, attended by delegates from Europe, Middle East, the US and Africa, discussed, among others, the Enrolment of Diaspora Nigerians in the National Identity Database in Nigeria, Diaspora Voting Rights, a Diaspora Agenda for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission and the Diaspora Role in Migration Management.

In attendance in Almere were also dignitaries including HE Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa,  Nigerian ambassador to the Netherland; Alhaji Abdul Rimdap, former Ambassador to Austria and Germany; and Dr (Mrs) Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, representative of Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora and Chairman/Chief Executive-Nominee for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission.

The Conference was organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Europe and hosted by the Netherlands Chapter.

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The following resolutions were adopted at the 2nd Nigerian Global Diaspora Conference:

Diaspora Voting

The Conference calls on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to make the necessary laws to enable the Diaspora vote by the next general election in 2023. The Conference therefore mandates NIDO to intensify its lobby work for the attainment of the objective.

Understanding that Diaspora voting is tied to electronic voting, the Conference calls on the President to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which provides for Electronic Voting, without further delay.

The Conference mandates NIDO to assemble a competent legal team to study the verdict of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, in the case of Okwuobi Ikechukwu Charles vs INEC.

The judgement, delivered on 9 April 2019 by the Honourable Justice Abdullah Muhammad Liman, compelled INEC to make provision for members of the Diaspora to vote.

The Conference asks NIDO to assess the implications of the court verdict for its current clamour for Diaspora Voting Rights.

Diaspora Enrolment

The Conference commends the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for the ongoing enrolment of all Nigerians in the Diaspora in the National Identity Database in Nigeria.

[The NIMC has appointed five (5) vendors to carry out the exercise on its behalf and NIDO Worldwide is a partner of one of the vendors, Biosec Solutions.]

The Conference requests all NIDO chapters, acting in collaboration with all Nigerian organizations and other Diaspora stakeholders, to carry out an awareness campaign in order to mobilize their members to participate in the enrolment exercise.

Nigerian Diaspora Commission

The Conference commends the contributions of NIDO, sister organizations and other Nigerians which culminated in the establishment of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDOM) after a process that took 16 years.

The Conference welcomes the nomination of Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa as the Chairman/Chief Executive of NIDOM and the appointment of Dr Sule Bassi as the Executive Secretary of the Commission and calls on the Federal Government to make all efforts to ensure that the Commission is fully established within the shortest possible time.

The Conference requests NIDO Worldwide (NIDOWW) to liaise with the Executive Secretary of NIDCOM to make available the full text of the Act establishing the Commission to enable the Diaspora know how it can best co-operate with the Commission.

The Conference is also of the view that the publication of the Act will end speculations that the Bill passed by the National Assembly is different from the one assented to by the President.

The Conference implores the Executive Secretary of NIDCOM to open a proper channel of communication with NIDO and the global Diaspora community, being its primary consitutuency, for effective interaction.

The Conference calls on the Federal Government to announce the names of the other members of the Board of NIDCOM and ensure that the Diaspora is well represented on the Board as provided for in the original Bill passed by the National Assembly.  The Conference calls on the Senate to, without further delay, conduct a confirmation hearing on the Nominees so that the Commission can take off properly.

Migration & International Co-operation

The Conference, recognising migration as a fact of life with potential economic benefits for all sides if properly managed, encourages the Diaspora to partner with international organizations working in the field of Safe Migration Awareness Campaigns.

The Conference therefore mandates NIDO to assemble experts, along continental chapters, for the development of a framework for capacity building for Diaspora NGOs to facilitate their funding. 

The Conference calls on the EU, EU Member States, the IOM and related international agencies to establish Diaspora Desks and collaborate with structured Diaspora organizations and NGOs for effective partnership and capacity building.

To bring to an end the unnecessary death and suffering of Nigerians in the process of irregular migration, the Conference calls on young Nigerians to migrate legally.

The Conference also advises Nigerians living abroad to disseminate correct information about the reality of life in the Diaspora and expose those engaged in human trafficking.

The Conference frowns on the restrictive visa policies of many European countries towards Nigerians seeking visa for the legal purposes of conducting business activities, attending conferences and private visits, among others, and calls on Nigeria to adopt the principle of reciprocity in diplomacy.

Finally, the Conference reiterates its commitment to a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria built on the principles of fairness, equity and social justice.

Dated in Almere, Netherlands, this 27th Day of April 2019

Signed:

Kenneth Gbandi  

(Chair, NIDOE & Coordinating Chairman, NIDOWW)         

&

Vire Komolafe

(General Secretary, NIDOE)

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