The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Nigerian in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said that enhanced cooperation between Nigerians and Indians in Diaspora is capable of transforming the world.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa stated this during the commemoration of the 2020 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Indians in Diaspora day) and World Hindi Day in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is commemorated on January 9 annually to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa and recognizing Indians in Diaspora.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said that Nigerians and Indians in Diaspora are known to make up the most intelligent migrants in countries of residence around the globe.
“Nigerian doctors are known to be among the best in their countries of residence and Indians in Diaspora have also contributed to industrial development in their countries of residence” Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said.
She explained that if Nigerian medical doctors abroad could impart their knowledge and expertise back in the country, it would go a long way toward reducing the rate of medical tourism which Nigerians seek in other parts of the world.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa commended India for its laudable achievements recorded in overseeing the affairs of its citizens living in various countries and the contributions they were making toward the further development of the countries of their residence.
A lot to learn
The NIDCOM boss said that Nigeria also had a lot to learn from India in terms of how it had successfully handled the affairs of its nationals in Diaspora.
“There is a lot to learn from what you have done with your diaspora.
“When I became chairman of NIDCOM, the first high commission I decided to visit was the Indian High commission to learn from India.
“What I have learnt from India has helped us in the task of setting up of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission and we will continue to come to you to learn more from you.
“The Indian Diaspora is a bridge to the world, we also have a Nigerian Diaspora that is also a bridge to the world but we know that we have a lot to do.”
“Imagine those two teams of Diaspora coming together, the Indian Diaspora, the Nigerian Diaspora; I believe they can change the world.
“In terms of Medical Tourism, we have almost 5,000 doctors in America alone and if our doctors in Diaspora alone do what the Indian Diasporas have done in India we would change the history of medical tourism in Nigeria.”
“Talking about remittances, we also have Nigerian Diasporas contributing last year about 25 million dollars to the Nigerian economy.
“And we also want to put in place a lot of incentives to make the Nigerian Diaspora do as much as the Indian Diaspora has done,” Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said.
Indians in diaspora instrumental to development
In his address, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, said that the Indian government attached so much importance to, and recognised the contributions of Indians living abroad.
Mr. Thakur said that Indian had the largest Diaspora in the world at almost 31 million with more than 50,000 living in Nigeria.
It is a thing of great pride, according to Mr. Thakur, that many multinational cooperation’s around the world are headed by young Indians which includes Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Ajay Banga of Mastercard, Geeta Gopinath of IMF among others.
Mr. Thakur added that to ensure sustained and substantive engagement with the Indian Diaspora, PBD Conventions had been held regularly in India since 2003 during which outstanding Indians were recognised.
The High Commissioner said that India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s administration had reinvigorated the Government of India’s commitments with Indians living abroad through several programmes.
Mr. Thakur explained that the programmes were to enable Indians in Diaspora to enjoy every benefit as citizen’s still living in India such as the Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC), the Know India Programme (KIP).
“We have an Indian Community Welfare Fund for carrying out welfare activities for distressed overseas Indians.”
Mr. Thakur disclosed that the Indians in Nigeria have been very active owing over 135 companies in Nigeria which are major employers of labour.
He reiterated Indian’s commitment to enhance and boost the bilateral relations with Nigeria.