Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, in Sochi, Russia, has assured Nigerian professionals and students in that country that “the life of every Nigerian, in every part of the world matters.”
He therefore promised to stretch government’s reach and capacity to protect all Nigerians, not minding where they live.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said: “Our government will protect Nigerians at home, and abroad,” at the gathering of Nigerian students and professionals in Sochi, ahead of the conclusion of his three-day visit to Russia, where he participated in the Russia-Africa Summit, which had about 40 Heads of State and governmentsvin attendance.
President Buhari said the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, headed by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was established to ensure a forward and backward link for all Nigerians living outside the country by catering for their safety and needs, and providing a platform for many who would like to contribute to the development of the country with their skills, knowledge and resources.
“Don’t forget your home,’’ he said, advising all Nigerians living in foreign countries to be law abiding and work very hard to excel in their studies and chosen careers.
President Buhari assured that his administration will always be people-focused, pointing out that all the programmes of the administration had been tailored to buoy the economy and protect the poor and vulnerable.
“We must create jobs to meet the growing demands in the country, and we are looking at agriculture already,” he added.
The president noted that the government also introduced Social Investment Programmes to directly impact the lives of poor people.
“Yesterday I met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin and we discussed some of the areas of shared interest which include pushing for diversification of the economy in agriculture and solid minerals. Incidentally we have a lot in common.
“Russia exports crude oil like Nigeria, and it is the second largest producer of gas in the world. A lot can be learnt from their journey. We will collaborate in agriculture, oil and gas, and solid minerals exploration,’’ he said.
The Nigerian Ambassador, Prof Steve Ugbah, said the president had restored the pride of all Nigerians by consistently meeting with citizens in countries he visited.
In his remarks, the President of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) in Russia, Chukwujeku Ejike Sam-Fester, said President Buhari demonstrated a high sense of maturity and patriotism by visiting South Africa on October 3rd, 2019, to discuss issues relating to attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians, in the country.
“We are proud of you for taking that step to reconcile not only Nigeria and South Africa, but the entire continent,’’ he said.
Sam-Fester urged the government to extend gestures like the National Identity Card, BVN, 10-year validity passport and encourage more participation in governance by inviting professionals in foreign countries to provide services.
In her remarks, a Nigeria female student in Russia, Kadija Mohammed Babanzara, commended the president for consistency in the payment of bursaries to students.
“Since you came into power, our bursaries are being paid in full and timely. We are grateful,’’ she said.