Monday, August 24, 2015

Buhari to Engage Nigerians in diaspora in anti-corruption war

The federal government has said this year’s Diaspora Day will address how President Muhammadu Buhari can leverage on the expertise of Nigerian professionals living abroad in prosecuting the ongoing war against corruption.

The president will tomorrow (Tuesday) declare open the 2015 Diaspora Day/ Conference which will take place at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Permanent Secretary in the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, who disclosed this, also noted that the targets set for the conference were clearly defined in a manner that would support and enhance the change agenda of the president.

According to her, while Buhari is doing a good job on the anti-corruption war, the president needed God’s wisdom to be able to approach issues of Nigeria because the country is a colossus that has so many sides to it.

On how Buhari is intending to engage the diaspora in the corruption war, she said: “The idea is to leverage on their expertise and experience out there, which means that, as we have in this conference, some of them are experts being called all over the world to give their lead presentations on corruption.

“They have successfully helped some other economies to get themselves out of corruption, and they are Nigerians. So, we have an expert in that field that will be coming to Nigeria to speak in that area at the conference. We want to leverage on their expertise.”

According to her, the Diaspora Day was set aside by the government to celebrate Nigerians living abroad after it was discovered that quite a number of Nigerians were contributing immensely to the economies out there.

Odusote said: “You can find a lot of them, specialists and experts, in their various fields, making name for themselves and for Nigeria. We want to get an advantage of their experience out there in their global assignment.

“Number two is that we want to lure them into coming back to Nigeria and contributing to national development. Thirdly, we want them to contribute to the economic development of Nigeria, while they are out there.

“We want them to invest in Nigeria; we want them to attract investment to Nigeria that can bring expansion in the change agenda of Mr. President.”

Another idea of the Diaspora conference, Odusote said, was to ensure proper documentation of the many Nigerians out there that were not even documented anywhere, yet they were there.

She said: “We are talking about those that should be documented legally in their positions and they are making waves. They are doings things that are unique in all their endeavours and exploits. They have skills that are unparalleled even by the nationals of the country where they are.

“So, the overall objective is that we have a direct relationship with them. We know who they are, we know where they are, we know how they are faring and then we take care of their welfare to be sure that they are not maltreated where they are.

“We would want to also impress on them that they too will obey the rules of the countries where they are. Essentially, that is what this conference is all about.” The permanent secretary added that tomorrow’s conference would have a key participant, a young Nigerian student, Mr. Ufot Ekong, who provided anwers to an unsolved mathematics equation of 30 years.

Apart from Ekong, she said experts would speak on different areas, with three panel sessions focusing on sustainable health care in Nigeria, sustainable development through youth empowerment and enhancing education in Nigeria. Odusote noted that a roundtable discussion programme which would focus on investment opportunities in Nigeria is also scheduled to hold today ahead of the Diaspora conference billed for tomorrow.

 The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the Diaspora Day to create a platform for Nigerian experts and professionals in the Diaspora to interact with their counterparts at home.

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