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The Chairman of Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the Federal government is taking proactive actions to tackle challenges facing Nigerians in the Diaspora
Dabiri-Erewa who was speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, weekend, said government has created “ hotlines dedicated to addressing issues and responding to challenges facing Nigerians in the Diaspora
Nigerians have been facing several challenges outside the country ranging from Xenophobic attacks, economic blockades, as well as attacks on businesses of Nigerians, especially in South Africa, Ghana and recently, Togo.
Only recently, a Nigerian, identified as Jeffrey Ewohime, allegedly destroyed several cars belonging to the Nigeria High Commission in the UK, over his inability to access his renewed Passport, as at when he needed it
But Dabiri-Erewa, while making reference to the issue, condemned the action, even as she admitted that there was service failure in the High Commission
“ On the UK incident of the Nigerian who damaged some vehicles at the High Commission, we have made it clear that that incident is unacceptable.
“There is no reason why he should damage and be so violent. At the same time, we do admit that there are some challenges in some of our embassies while there have been large improvements in some of them”
She disclosed that she would be having a stakeholders meeting, particularly in the UK with the Nigerian community, the High Commission, as well as the immigration, to look at whatever the challenges are so that they can be resolved,
“ I know that there are some challenges that are resolvable. So, we will be engaging more with the diaspora. Subsequently, we are going to have hotlines for Nigerians in diaspora so that they can contact the commission and we can look into whatever challenges they are facing”
She also gave assurances that the case of a Nigerian Professor whose appointment was terminated by his university because of the tape he released in Ghana will be resolved
“Well, it turned out that he didn’t actually record, I mean that was a private meeting with Nigerians in Ghana, it was like a private discussion. And he also claimed that part of the tape was actually doctored. The matter is being looked into by the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana and I believed those matters will be resolved subsequently.
“But right now, we are dealing with the issue of attacking Nigerian traders in Ghana. We have the assurances of the President of Ghana through the high commission here and ours in Ghana that Nigerian traders will be protected.
“So we are also going to be emphasizing that the life of one Nigerian means a lot to us anywhere in the world. And the issues happening around neighbouring countries like Togo.
Speaking further on the case of the Nigerian who was attacked in Togo, Dabiri-Erewa said while the country was not against punitive measures against Nigerians who commits crimes in other countries, such punishments must be done according to laws
“ If any Nigerian commits a crime, let him pay the penalty for it as a punishment, but you cannot penalise a nation and its citizens. So we will be working more on that as we appealed to Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they find themselves
“In Togo, we have Nigerians attacked. One woman alleged that she was raped and she turned out to be his girlfriend. We have also seen the Togolese Ambassador and made it clear that the lives of Nigerians must be protected anywhere they are because we take care of others here and we deserve to be taken care of.
Tony Ailemen, Abuja