A member of Nigeria’s House of Representative has called for the establishment of a Joint Action Committee on Diaspora between Nigeria and India to harness the potentials of the Diasporas in the two countries.
Ms. Dabiri-Erewa, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, made the call during a lecture titled “Heritage and Diaspora”delivered at the 11th Indian Diaspora Convention (Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013) at Kochi, India.
The legislator said“Nigeria and India are two great nations with huge Diaspora potentials which require collaboration from the two countries in order to tap into”.
“Nigeria and India Diaspora, need to chart a path of collaboration because we have many things in common.”
“We cannot change the past but we can determine the future, the choice we make now, will determine the future,” she said.
The lawmaker, who was honoured for being the first non ethnic Indian to speak at the Indian Diaspora Convention, said that the proposed committee would influence policy in the African and Indian sub-continent.
She said since India has the largest Diaspora and remittance in the world just as Nigeria has the largest in Africa, the coming together of the two countries would be of great benefits to all.
“We must unite because there is a need for greater interaction and collaboration between us as we are linked by common heritage of being colonised by the British,” she said.
Ms. Dabiri-Erewa advised the home governments to recognise the Diasporas as their citizens and accord them all the rights and benefits enjoyed by home-based citizens. She said the governments should not “treat them as outcasts”.
She equally advised that young graduates and seasoned professionals should be offered employment in their fatherland.
“Such a move would enrich their sense of belonging and pride as contributors to nationbuilding,”she said.
The lawmaker cited the example of India’s Bollywood and Nigeria-Nollywood, which are contributing substantially to the Gross Domestic Products, GDP, of the countries.
She counseled that the promotion of tourism in the homeland must exploit the opportunities offered by the citizens in Diasporas and should not only focus on attracting foreigners.
“Our citizens in the Diaspora must be encouraged to come home to explore the beautiful and historical places in the land of their heritage.
Ms. Dabiri-Erewa recommended the India Diaspora as a model, where wealth and population are huge resources which the homeland government should tap for nation-building.
Over 2,500 Non-Resident Indians, NRI, from over 50 countries as well as other delegates are attending the convention which was declared open by Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
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