Nigerian diaspora remittances in 2021 trump foreign direct investment: Buhari
Nigerians in the diaspora remitted more than $20 billion in 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari said in Washington on Friday.
The president made the comment at a presidential public meeting he held with Nigerians in the diaspora in Washington on Friday following the end of his participation in the US-Africa Leaders Summit.
Garba Shehu, one of the president’s press aides, quoted the president congratulating Nigerians in the diaspora in a statement issued Saturday in Abuja.
“It is my understanding that in 2021, our remittances to diaspora households through official channels amounted to $20 billion, which is four times the value of our Foreign Direct Investment.
“In addition, many of our diaspora compatriots are actively investing in our health, agriculture, education, information and communication technology, housing and real estate, transportation, oil and gas, and other services.
“I must say this is highly commendable and in our own collective enlightened interest as only Nigerians both at home and abroad can develop Nigeria.
“I am personally proud of all of you,” Shehu was quoted as saying by the president.
He said that the President also expressed his satisfaction with the conduct of Nigerians who continued to excel in their chosen fields in the United States of America.
It added that Mr. Buhari assured Nigerians residing abroad that the Nigerian government would continue to have their back in whatever situation they found themselves in.
Buhari said he had given his approval for the evacuation of Nigerians in danger in Libya, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and India.
He added that it was one of the reasons behind the establishment of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to facilitate interactions with “ambassadors”.
The president urged Nigerians living abroad to continue to be good ambassadors and to live in peace with each other and with their hosts, as “there can be no progress in disunity.”
Chairman Buhari welcomed the fact that the “ambassadors” were giving back to Nigeria as expected of them, and urged them to do more.
“It is gratifying for me to note that many Nigerians in the US have continued to excel in their careers, which has led to some people of Nigerian origin being appointed to President Joe Biden’s cabinet.
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“Similarly, many have been elected or appointed to various responsible and competitive positions in the United States of America.
“I congratulate those who have brought honor and pride to our country.
“I thank you and congratulate you on your respective successes.
“I also urge them to show the highest sense of responsibility to continue to be benchmarks of excellence while serving this country,” Shehu quoted Buhari as saying.
Buhari told the gathering that it would be the last time he would address her at a town hall meeting in Washington as president.
He assured Nigerians that the electoral process leading to the election of a new administration was going well.
“As you all know, the processes for our national elections in 2023 have continued to move smoothly and in accordance with the laws of our country.
“I have repeatedly assured my personal commitment and the commitment of our administration to ensure that the processes continue to be transparent, credible, free and fair.
“This will lead to smooth elections and a transition to the next government.
“This is the only way we can strengthen democracy in Nigeria.
“It is the only way to set the right example for the rest of Africa and hopefully stop the resort to unconstitutional changes of governments in our sub-region and the rest of the African continent,” he said.
In his remarks, NiDCOM President Abike Dabiri-Erewa noted that President Buhari’s first diaspora meeting was held in Washington and praised the president for his continued support of NiDCOM.
He also praised the president for always being ready to meet Nigerians whenever he traveled outside of Nigeria.
Attendees at the town hall meeting were Nigerians and politicians of Nigerian descent, especially those voted in and appointed to various offices after the last US election.
Others were accomplished doctors; athletes, men and women, and those in the education, aviation, as well as media and entertainment sectors.
The highlight of the occasion was the congratulations of President Buhari on his 80th birthday and the unveiling of a portrait to mark the occasion by the Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Uzoma Emenike.
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