Hon Abike (Dr) Dabiri-Erewa OON, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) and the Indian High Commissioner, Shri Gangandharan Balasubramanian with delegates of NiDCOM and the Indian High Commission officials, during a visit by members of NiDCOM to His Excellency Shri Gangandharan Balasubramanian in Abuja/Photo: NiDCOM

Nigeria and India to partner on diaspora engagement

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri Gangandharan Balasubramanian, has commended Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), on her strides at engaging with the Nigerians in the Diaspora globally. The Indian envoy stated this in Abuja when he received in audience, the NiDCOM chief and some management staff to the Indian Embassy in Abuja, who were specially invited to participate in the recently held India Diaspora Day 2023, in India.

Balasubramanian recalled that Nigeria and India have enjoyed an age-long, cordial and robust bilateral relationship in Education, ICT, Commerce, Culture, Security, Healthcare and many more, while stating that sharing ideas and knowledge exchange, will be an added advantage in Diaspora engagements.

The Envoy mentioned that creating a 17 Action-Plan such as the ‘Citizen of India Card Initiative’, ‘Study in India Programme’, ‘Know India initiative’ etc., were specially designed to cater to the interest of Indians in the diaspora.

The Indian High Commissioner said that the “Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas” or the India Diaspora Day, is a biennial event for Indians abroad, while awards are given at the end of the ceremony to deserving Indians in the Diaspora. He revealed that 27 awards were presented at the last edition, and an Indian community in Lagos state, Nigeria, participated at the event.

Balasubramanian stated that Nigeria attaining 15 out of India’s 17 Action-Plan was impressive and believes that NiDCOM, though young in its existence, has huge potential to drive the dynamics of Diaspora in Nigeria and globally.

Chairman/CEO, NiDCOM, Hon. (Dr) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, expressed her gratitude to the High Commissioner on receiving her and her team in order to gain meaningful lessons from India, currently number one at effective diaspora engagement in the world.

Ms Dabiri-Erewa equally thanked him for his support to the Commission, stating that Nigeria and India have a lot in common especially on Diaspora matters and engagements. She is convinced that the collaboration of both diasporas will result to a huge impact for both countries and the world at large.

The NiDCOM chief added that the Commission is working hard at organising its maiden Nigeria Diaspora Merit Awards this year and ensuring the Study Scholarship for Nigerian Diasporas become feasible. On the scholarship programme, Dabiri-Erewa said that the Commission has been in talks with the Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFund), to provide study assistance to young Nigerian diaspora.

According to her, “the scholarship scheme is targeted at students in the Arts and Languages, to stimulate interest and passion for Nigerian culture and languages;

“That is what I admire about Indians. Wherever they go, they carry along their culture and strongly preserve it to pass on to future generations. That is the goal for our second and third generation Nigerians in the Diaspora, with the study programme”, she said.

In addition, the NiDCOM chief seized the opportunity to appeal to Nigerian health professionals in the Diaspora to replicate what their Indian counterparts are doing for their country, urging them to promote brain circulation through capacity training of medical personnel at home, exchange programmes and establishment of state-of-the-art medical centres that will not only create jobs and boost the economy but also cut medical tourism and increase higher survival and recovery rates in patients.

Meanwhile, Engr. Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi, the Secretary to the Commission who attended 2023 India Diaspora Day, along with Hon Abdurahman Tarab, commended the High Commissioner for the opportunity to participate at the last “Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas” ceremony , during which he observed some innovations that can be inculcated into Nigeria’s National Diaspora Day, to make it more impactful.

Gabriel Odu, Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit, NIDCOM

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