From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Speak Out Africa has issued an open letter to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) demanding the immediate retraction of ‘dishonourable utterances’ by Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Ahmed Idris Wase, about the Nigerian Diaspora.
Speak Out Africa Convener Kenneth Eze, who led the delegates to the Commission yesterday, stated that Wase’s statement is capable of negatively impacting the Nigerian economy if not probably addressed.
Eze stressed that it is time to legislate on the rights of Nigerians in the Diaspora to be able to participate in future elections to clear doubts in the minds of the Diaspora community as to the genuineness of the government.
‘We demand for the retraction of the dishonorable utterances of the Deputy Speaker, Hon Ahmed Idris Wase, against the Nigerian-Diaspora citizens in at least five (5) national dailies for the sake of the reputation of the hallowed chamber as well as halting the likely citizens-legislative trust deficit that may occur courtesy of his inactions as a principal officer of the green chamber,’ he stated.
‘The gross show of ignorance by the deputy speaker on the pivotal roles/importance of the Nigerians in diaspora in building our dwindling economy having raked in remittances of about 17.9 billion dollars in 2019 is a thing of worry considering they stand with a high shoulder in revenue as government highest source of income after crude oil.
‘We call on the leadership of the house to intervene as we demand full retraction of the derogatory statement, a public unequivocal apology to Nigerians in Diaspora and a re-presentation of the said petition again in the next plenary of the house.
‘This would save our hard-earned democracy, stabilize ethnic misinterpretations, salvage perceived political vilification and give every citizens a sense of belonging in the interest of the nation and for good international reputation.
‘This is the right time to legislate on the rights of Nigerians in Diaspora to be able to participate in future elections as we approach 2023 as against the doubt in the minds of the Diaspora community as to the genuineness of the government’s intentions towards its citizens abroad and putting to doubt their citizenship, privileges and rights as Nigerians courtesy of the deputy speaker derogatory statement.’
The Chairman of the Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who spoke through the Head of Legal, Barr Bello, while receiving the letter, assured the group of the Commission’s support, saying the letter would be delivered to the leadership of House of Assembly as requested.