Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora Affairs and Non-Governmental Organizations, Senator Victor Umeh, has assured of the Senate support to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in achieving its set objectives.
Umeh gave the assurance when the committee met with Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM and top management staff in a maiden interactive session on the activities of the Commission.
The Senator alongside other members of the Committee like Sen. Seriake Dickson, Sen. Ibrahim Dakwambo, expressed surprise with the meagre budgetary allocation to the Commission despite its visible activities and interventions in the diaspora affairs.
He said the committee invitation to the Chairman/CEO was to brief it to know more about the Commission, its challenges and prospects as well as other areas of possible assistance especially during appropriation period.
While commending Dabiri-Erewa for her dynamism and prudency in turning around the commission and giving Nigeria a positive image despite paucity of funds, the lawmaker asked her to brief it on the poor treatment of Nigerians in Ethiopia prisons.
In her briefing, Dabiri-Erewa expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the necessary support and collaborative spirit demonstrated by the committee over the years, which had kept the commission going in spite of the challenges facing it.
Dabiri-Erewa highlighted some of the major programmes and achievements of the Commission since inception four years ago as well as challenges facing it.
She listed the approval of the Diaspora Policy by the Federal Executive Council, the establishment of the Diaspora Data Mapping Portal, the annual Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit, National Diaspora Day, Badagry Door of Return, the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund, Diaspora Focal Point Officers, Diaspora Presidential Town Hall Meeting and National Diaspora Merit Awards, among others.
The NIDCOM boss, however, listed low budgetary allocation, lack of office accommodation and paucity of funds have greatly affected the optimal performance of the Commission.
On Nigerians languishing in Ethiopia prisons, she said efforts were made in the past to decongest the prisons through a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and Ethiopia but it was not concluded before the last administration ended, saying most Nigerians in the prisons were caught for carrying drugs and involved in fraudulent acts.