Monday, August 24, 2009

Nigerians in Diaspora

There is a Committee on Diaspora Affairs in the Nigerian House of Representatives. The current chair is named Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

I sometimes think *somebody* could help promote working visits for interested highly-skilled workers, especially Nigerians in Diaspora. Now I hope the somebody could come from Diaspora Affairs.

Like if you had one month, three months, or say a year off from normal employment at say Microsoft, the Mayo Clinic, or MIT, and wanted to do something useful in Nigeria, how to go about it? How to find the place where your skills are most needed and apply yourself to that for several hours a day (and not to figuring out bureaucratic crap among red-tape artists, for instance)?

One way is to go for NYSC (like I just did) if you're under-30. It's only 11months at most, and it's a lot of fun. It's real: nobody will stop you from making a contribution (once you've figured out the system a bit, that is.)
I've also heard of the occasional program for doctors to volunteer their time in Nigeria.
I haven't heard of an IT program, really.
But these kinds of things need to be massively encouraged, and the scale needs to be greatly increased. We need not 100 skilled visitors a year, but perhaps 10000 or more.

In this post, I'm focusing on science and tech fields, because I have seen the specific need for rural doctors, for IT expertise, and for state-of-the-art tertiary education. Yes, I'm sure such a plan can be extended to several other fields too (agriculture, government, risk management, ...)

What do you think? What would you have to have guaranteed before you venture to Nigeria for a one-month work leave? Is it a matching salary? Is it a certificate? Appreciation? Housing? Security? Or just a visa? Would you have to live with your folks, or would you be open to seeing some new parts of the country? Or you're just not going to Nigeria for work, period?

Please post a comment at

Consider visiting the tres-modern website of the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs and sharing your ideas and opinions there as well.


Update, September 2009
In related news, the National Planning Commission engages Nigerians in the diaspora for National Vision 2020...
NPC engages Nigerians in the Diaspora for NV2020

London, August 2009 - Nigerians living in the United Kingdom and the United States have canvassed for greater involvement of Nigerians in the Diaspora (NIDs) in the NV 20:2020 process, especially in the implementation phase. This request is one of the outcomes of the town hall meetings held with them by a delegation of National Planning Commission officials, NV 2020 Secretariat and Accenture, the lead consultants for the process. The delegation, led by the Honourable Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, was in London from Aug.20-21 and in Washington from August 22-23. In London, the meeting, which was held under the auspices of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK), was attended by over 200 people from all walks of life. The association challenged the Federal Government on the need to faithfully implement the recommendations in the final blueprint. They called for social welfare of the citizenry to be central to the outcomes of the Vision exercise,continuous reform of the Civil Service, and the need for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to be an integral part of the Vision implementation, among other issues. In his presentation, the Minister challenged NID to support initiatives drawn up in the Vision document with analysis of where gaps exists, implementation strategy and canvassing for investments to support Nigeria's infrastructural development, using their links abroad. The town hall meeting held at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington was convened based on requests made by the US Chapter of NID to the Business Support Group (BSG) of the NV20:2020. Exploring areas of collaboration towards the implementation of the NV20:2020 blueprint was also central to the need for the trip, NPC said. A key outcome of the meeting was the need for the Federal Government to create unique roles for NID in the Vision process through the launch of a Think Tank. As a first step, the NPC was enjoined to initiate the creation of a database of NID, to serve as a reference point for any request for subject matter experts abroad by Nigeria's development partners.

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