The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has said that Nigerian foreign missions and Embassies must strive to meet the needs of Nigerians abroad and improve their services to them.
She specifically said that the foreign affairs policy reform must address the issues of improved quality representation as the Embassies is the first point of contact between Nigerians abroad and the government, nothing that the impression f Nigerians in diaspora is a poor representation of their gAaovernment.
Akande-Sadipe, who was speaking in Abuja on Monday at the opening of a three-day Conference on the Review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, noted that Nigeria’s foreign policy should address the issues of. services being rendered to diaspora citizens at the foreign missions and embassies.
“My focus would be our foreign missions and embassies and the Nigerians in diaspora; can we confidently say that we are meeting the needs of Nigerians who need our services abroad?” she said.
She urged Nigerians to honour the country by an living exemplary lives, saying “to be selected to represent Nigeria abroad is a privilege. We must not relent as the security and welfare of all Nigerians home and abroad should be a priority. Representatives need to shake off the demigod mindset and have a service mindset. An exemplary service is what we must strive for and that’s what you must give back.”
The lawmaker highlighted some important agencies and parastatals that should be reformed.
“Some of the reform issues include the following. Immigration; Passport issuance is a nightmare, I have been there, I have experienced it. NIMC, National Identity Registration is a nightmare, other emergency services and legal representation,” she said.
Akande-Sadipe spoke on the case of of a Nigerian, Sulaiman, who is on death row in Saudi Arabia, noting that if he had legal representation, he won’t be in that position.
“This Innocent 17-year-old boy was made to sign a confession he did not write as it was written in Arabic,” the lawmaker said.
She decided human trafficking and the response of Nigerian missions and embassies to the plight of Nigerian citizens who often get caught in the ugly situation because of unscrupulous traffickers.
“Why are we here to proffer solution for an ailment that has long eaten into service delivery at our missions and embassies, not to sweep the numerous realities under the carpet but to face the issues squarely, proffer solutions and solve the issues, but there must be a commitment from all stakeholders.
“Granting the diaspora more respect by the missions of their beloved country will further enhance their contribution to the socio-political development and economic growth of the country. Nigerian in diaspora account for yearly remittances of over $26 billion either as investments or direct capital inflow into Nigeria.” She added.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Chairman, House of Representatives, Committee on Diaspora.