The 10th National Assembly has established a laison office to enhance cooperation with Nigerians in the Diaspora, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Non-governmental Organisations and the Civil Societies.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora, NGOs and Civil Societies, Sen. Victor Umeh disclosed this at the third Phase of the Zumunta Association USA Inc Benevolent Palliative Project Awards in Abuja yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Sen. Anthony Siyako Yaro, the chairman said the office which had not existed before is to enhance and expand the relationship between Nigerians abroad and those at home for the benefit of the country.
The lawmaker assured that the National Assembly will make mutually beneficial laws so that Nigerians in the Diaspora too will have their interests protected while contributing to national development back home.
He said: “We at the Senate have actually fashioned out our programmes and plans in the next four years of making sure diasporans are Nigerians and they are always home with their minds. Our main objective is to make laws, amend laws to suit the circumstances of the present situation.
“We appreciate you very well and we will give you maximum support and the commitment level that is required to push this project forward. Diasporans are the engine level because they always bring something extra and something new.
“We are doing financial instruments with financial institutions to see how you can not only be helping your people but also benefit from your own wealth and investments. So we will make laws to make sure that these things are put right and they are put into use and we will see the benefits.”
In her remarks, the Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said beneficiaries selected from Yobe, Zarmfara, Kebbi Jigawa and Katsina States as well as several NGOs got a cheque of N700,000 to execute set of palliative projects.
Represented by the NiDCOM Secretary, Dr Sule Bassi, the chairman said, Nigerians in Diaspora (inclusive of Zumunta Association USA Inc) are an integral part of development in Nigeria, through remittances received at home, transfer of skills, talent, global exposure and the latest Diaspora Direct Investment (DDI) initiatives.
“The Zumunta Association USA Inc. is a nonprofit cultural community Organisation based in the Diaspora in the United States of America. Its Chapters spreads across twelve (12) states in the USA and its membership comprises individuals of Northern Nigerian origin from the 19 Northern states, FCT and some of the southern states of Nigeria.
“Zumunta Association USA Inc has been involved in benevolent projects in Nigeria, the Republic of Philippines and Haiti. It also has an active scholarship Programmes supporting students in Nigerian Universities.
“The palliative project presentation was first carried out in 2021 but the Association decided to collaborate with NIDCOM for the first time in 2022, as a way of demonstrating their commitment towards achieving the objectives of national development in Nigeria,” she said.
Earlier, the President of Zumunta USA Inc. represented by the Vice President, Rhoda Embu said the association has made significant strides in aiding underprivileged communities through the Palliative project in collaboration with NIDCOM, providing grants and partnering with over 30 NGOs across Nigeria.
“In the past, we have supported projects in all 19 northern states and the FCT, ranging from school renovations to health interventions.
This year, we have adopted a more structured approach to our awards. We intend to collaborate with government initiatives to reach more people.
“The grants will be used to enroll vulnerable populations in Northern Nigeria in the essential health Care Package programs. Our goal is to contribute to reducing the burden of diseases such as malaria, typhoid, and under-5 mortality,” she said.