President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed Nigerian youths excelling at home and abroad, saying the country will welcome inputs and investments from compatriots with international exposure for the economy to thrive.
The president spoke at a town hall meeting with Nigerians in the Diaspora on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in a statement in Abuja quoted the Nigerian leader as saying: ‘‘It gives me great pleasure to be in Kigali, Rwanda and to meet with you, members of the Nigerian Diaspora as part of my regular meetings with Nigerians wherever I visit other countries.
‘‘Let me begin by congratulating and commending Yewande Adebowale for emerging as one of the top four winners at the Commonwealth Youth competition at the Kigali Startup Festival 2022 at the Commonwealth Youth Forum.
‘‘I also commend Esther Olanrewaju and Favour Aderinto who are recipients of the Lakshmi Subramanian CMU-Africa Student Excellence Awards for Masters in Information Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
‘‘I am proud of you all, and I remain ever proud of our Nigerian youths excelling at home and abroad.”
The president commended the level of professionalism of Nigerians living in Rwanda and the amiable nature of their interactions with each other.
According to him, living peacefully and in obedience to the laws of the host nation is also paramount as it gives Nigeria a good name.
‘‘Remember that you are our ambassadors-at-large while here. People would read and know Nigeria by your actions and activities.
‘‘Our government is determined to work with Nigerians both at home and abroad to develop our economy and create a nation that is productive, peaceful, and caters fy the needs of its citizens.
‘‘We are also working assiduously to protect all Nigerians, whether at home or abroad, to feel safe and attain their full potentials in life,’’ he added.
Buhari noted that with the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Nigerians abroad could now seamlessly contribute their quota to national development, especially in the areas of investments in the economy.
‘‘Our agriculture, housing and real estate, ICT, healthcare, education and services sectors among others are waiting for your inputs and investments, considering your global exposure.
‘‘Let me urge you to key into the programmes of NIDCOM to make your contributions,’’ he said
He stressed the need for them to continue to uphold the good image of Nigeria by obeying the laws of their host country.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Rwanda, Amb. Aishatu Musa, told the president that Nigerians in the country were generally well behaved, and their population had swelled from 100 to 400 in recent years.
“They are in various fields like banking, agriculture, education, telecommunications, and others,” she added.
She revealed that President of the Association of Nigerians was Prof. Umaru Wali, a Dean at the University of Rwanda, who hails from Sokoto State.
The event, coordinated by Chairman NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, saw the following Nigerians interacting with the President: Kelechi Reginald, Chief Executive Officer of an investment firm and Uduak Udoh, who runs an architectural consultancy.
Others were Muyiwa Omololu, Managing Director of Rope Ways Transit, a company that builds cable cars; Favour Aderinto and Esther Olanrewaju, Lakshmi Subramaniam Excellence Award Winners, and Yewande Adebowale, who runs Salubata, an outfit that makes shoes from recycled plastic waste.
Also at the event were Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and Sunday Dare, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Youth and Sports Development respectively.