President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians in Diaspora to support the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
Buhari made this appeal in a video message to commemorate the 2020 Diaspora Day-themed “Leveraging Diaspora Resources for National Development in a COVID-19 Era”.
In addition, the president also commended Nigerians abroad, estimated to be more than 17 million, for their remittances to the country urging them not to abandon Nigeria, but continue to offer support in ways they could.
In his words: “Over the past three years, Nigerians in the diaspora have brought in over $25 billion annually as home remittances to the Nigerian economy through official and non-formal channels,” he said.
“This is about 6.0% of our annual GDP and upwards of 80% of our annual budget. This has impacted on livelihoods of Nigerians in terms of education, health, housing and estate development, industry, trade and investments, agriculture and technology/skills transfer.
“In terms of diaspora home remittances, Nigeria is rated as number one in sub-Saharan Africa and this is still growing especially with the advocacy and mobilisation programmes of the newly established Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
“Nigerians in the diaspora are also known to be engaged in skill transfer in ICT and industry. They are also active in our universities as lecturers, and in carrying out medical missions.
“It is, therefore, my sincere hope that even with the depressed economy under stress in the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians in the diaspora will rise up to the occasion of not abandoning their country of origin, but be active in our post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
“You are our ambassadors-at-large by your behaviour and character in your host countries. Whatever legitimate endeavour you choose, you must excel and be the best.
“Do not forget home, Nigeria, by giving back and engaging in its development.”