The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Monday disclosed that Africans in diaspora remitted a total of $60 billion to the continent in 2012.
The World Bank had ranked Nigeria as the fifth among the top recipients of diaspora remittances while India is leading the pack of countries whose citizens send huge returns home.
Regional Adviser of the organisation for Africa, Mr. Charles Kwenin, disclosed this at the National Diaspora Policy Advocacy workshop held at the National Assembly, Abuja.
Kwenin, who made a case for the formulation of a diaspora policy in different countries across Africa said such a policy would provide the framework in addressing the needs of Africans living in foreign countries.
He said that given the growing influence and relevance of diaspora issues globally, Africa had no choice but to explore the opportunities available in it.
Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who declared the workshop open hailed Nigerians in diaspora over their contributions towards the economic development of the country.
Tambuwal , represented by the House Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, said Nigerians in diaspora have helped in no small measure in uplifting the living standards of their brethren at home.
He said that Nigerians in diaspora could play pivotal roles in government’s effort to advance the social and economic development in the country.
The House, Tambuwal said, was working on ways to encourage Nigerians in the diaspora to always remember home and contribute more meaningfully to national development.
He said that in addition to monetary remittances, Nigerians living abroad would be encouraged to invest in emerging industries in Nigeria.
He charged the House Committee on diaspora to ensure the protection of Nigerians living abroad as diaspora issues had become and would continue to assume an important place in the country’s political agenda.
Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said that since the inception of the committee, it had intervened in several diaspora issues.
She advocated the institution of a National Policy on Diaspora as well as a National Commission for Diaspora Affairs adding that with such structures in place, Africa could surpass India in diaspora matters.