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Nigeria’s Foreign Missions, Embassies urged to do more for Nigerians overseas

By Razaq Bamidele

Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has said that Nigeria’s foreign missions and Embassies must strive to meet the needs of Nigerians abroad and improve their services to them.

A statement issued by Olamilekan Olusada, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Chairman, House of Representatives, Committee on Diaspora, said that the federal lawmaker specifically said that the foreign affairs policy reform must address the issues of improved quality representation as the Embassy is the first point of contact between Nigerians abroad and their government and the impression being observed by Nigerians in the diaspora is a poor representation of their Government.

Hon. Akande-Sadipe, who was spoke, in Abuja, 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 as regards to services rendered to Nigeria’s diaspora citizens at the Foreign Mission and Embassies.

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Her words, “My focus would be our Foreign Missions and Embassies and the Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Can we confidently say that we are meeting the needs of Nigerians who need our services abroad?” she asked.

She urged the Missions and Embassies overseas to honour the country by act of exemplary service because, according to her, “to be selected to represent Nigeria abroad is a privilege,” admonishing that, “We must not relent as the security and welfare of all Nigerians home and abroad should be a priority and a reality.

“Our representatives need to shake off the demigod mind-set and replace it with a service mind-set. An exemplary service is what we must strive for and that’s what you must give back,” she stressed.

Speaking further, the concerned federal lawmaker also highlighted some issues that need reform such as, “the Immigration, Passport Issuance which is a nightmare,” lamenting that, “I have been there and I have experienced it.”

She also identified the NIMC, the National Identity Registration, Emergency Services and Legal Representation to the department as requiring reforms, complaining that the policies are nightmare.

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Hon. Akande Sadipe, who informed the session of the case of one Sulaimon who is on death row in Saudi Arabia, however, noted that if he had Legal Representation or Support from the Embassy, the outcome of the case might have been different, regretting that, “the Innocent 17-year-old boy was made to sign a confession he did not write as it was written in Arabic!”

She also expressed sadness about the situation of human trafficking and the response of Nigeria Missions and Embassies to the plight of Nigerian citizens who often get caught in those situations created by unscrupulous traffickers.

She continued, “We are 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 with solid 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 diasporas account for yearly remittances of over 26 billion dollars either as investments or direct capital inflow into Nigeria,” she added.