The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has called for the upgrade of the Commission to a full-fledged Ministry.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa stated this on Thursday when she appeared before the Senate Committee on the Diaspora and Nongovernmental Organisations for an interaction on the developments in the agency.
She said the call has been necessitated by the volume of work in the Commission, noting that as a “Ministry, it would afford them to be able to cater for the millions of Nigeria citizens living abroad.”
Earlier, the NiDCOM boss lamented the paucity of funds as militating against the agency in coping with its statutory responsibilities.
According to her, she said her office was finding it difficult to help some Nigerians in critical situations in foreign lands because there were no provisions for foreign trips for her officials, disclosing that she was yet to be refunded for the three trips she recently embarked upon on behalf of the government.
Dabiri-Erewa said, “It is in the act that we should have five diasporan offices, but we don’t have money. It’s in the act, but we don’t have money.
“Some diasporans help us out when we travel. The diasporan is the most important thing for Nigeria right now, and I can tell you that we haven’t even engaged 10 percent of our diaspora.”
Speaking on the expected offices of NiDCOM abroad, she disclosed that they have been using technology to track the happenings as there was no adequate fund to open offices.
She pleaded with the National Assembly to assist so that continental offices could be opened for direct access to Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Meanwhile, members of the Senate Committee, chaired by Senator Michael Nnachi, suggested that the Technical Aids Corps should be under the direct supervision of NiDCOM.
He further advised the legal department of NiDCOM to liaise with the National Assembly to amend the Act that established it.
He said, “There is the need to upgrade NiDCOM to a full-fledged ministry. The legal department should start work toward the review of the Act.”
NIDCOM Chairman, Dabiri-Erewa calls for commission’s upgrade to full ministry