Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Executive Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), has hailed the strategies employed by Ireland to engage the country’s diaspora as offering a good example for Nigeria’s sustained engagement with its own diaspora.
Dabiri-Erewa made the comment when she received Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Peter Ryan, in her office in Abuja on Thursday. She added that NiDCOM could tap into the Irish experience to bring the Nigerian diaspora closer to the country.
Dabiri-Erewa also talked about the Nigerian experience through the work of NiDCOM, which, she said, had created “diaspora-centric activities since its establishment 4 years ago”. She offered the Commission’s partnership with its counterpart institution in Ireland, Global Irish, and by extension, the Irish Government, on diaspora engagement. The NiDCOM chief believes that the two countries could share experiences and cooperate for mutual benefits.
Ambassador Peter Ryan agreed that the two countries could partner on diaspora engagement via cooperation between the diaspora agencies of both Ireland and Nigeria.
The diplomat explained that his coming to NiDCOM was to compare notes and share ideas for a more robust diaspora engagement and find ways of collaboration.
Ryan noted that the Irish government recognises the power of the diaspora and the need to engage with its people outside the shores of their country through various channels, saying, “the Diaspora is the greatest treasure to any country in the world”. Some 70 million people worldwide claim Irish descent, more than half of them in the United States, where Irish is the second most common ancestry after German.
The huge population of the Irish diaspora has allowed Ireland, with about 5 million inhabitants, to have global connections far beyond its size. The country implements a Diaspora Strategy that sets out what the government will do over a given period to support and engage with its diaspora communities around the world.