Nigerians in the United States of America have expressed readiness to invest in Nigeria if the government would provide an enabling environment that would make businesses thrive.
They gave the assurance to President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting held in New York on Friday.
Nigerian professionals in the United states were hosted to a private meeting with the President to discuss how best to bring in their skills and expertise for the development of their home country.
The meeting, which held on the sidelines of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly had in attendance Nigerian professionals who have distinguished themselves in their various careers across the U.S.
They converged from different parts of the United States of America, top rate professionals all, Nigerians whom Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters and International Relations, described as “15 of the best people God ever created.”
How Nigeria Got Into Trouble
Top flight aeronautics engineers, physicians, I.T. experts, a Judge, a top policewoman, entrepreneurs, an Import Specialist at Customs and Border Protection, professors, two straight A students, and many others.
President Muhammadu Buhari and some Nigerians in the U.S.
The parley provided President Buhari an opportunity to bring them up to speed on how and why Nigeria got into trouble, with an assurance that with all hands on deck, including the best brains in the Diaspora, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time.
“I am very pleased with this meeting,” President Buhari stated. “Wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians.
“They not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down.
“We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day. For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure. Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about 30 dollars per barrel.
“I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe.
“In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go?
“We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.
“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them.
“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.
“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar.
“But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent.
“But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands. Now, we have dealt with that insurgency, and subverted their recruitment base.
“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts.
“It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salaries.
“But I prayed so hard for God to make me President. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain, since I prayed for the job.
“In the military, I rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major-General. I was military governor in 1975 over a state that is now six states. I was head of state, got detained for three years, and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which had 53 billion Naira of that time in Nigerian banks.
“God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain. If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me.
“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilize them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready,” the President told the gathering.
Some Nigerians in the U.S. at the meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari
President Buhari further told them that his administration was working on a government structure that would effectively engage their skills and expertise.
He agreed that distinguished Nigerians in the diaspora had a role to play in Nigeria’s development, promising to provide a conducive environment for them to thrive.
“I assure you that we are trying to be systematic in the government to organise the government properly.
“When we do that, we will get the ministries to function and we will need quality people to come along and help it to move fast,” President Buhari told the gathering.
Also at the meeting was a Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa. She said that the government would continue to engage Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora for the benefit of the country.
“Today, we met Nigerians who are willing and ready to bring back foreign-direct investments to Nigeria.
“Whatever stumbling blocks, we are looking into such stumbling blocks, but the passion is there.
“The desire is there and they are saying, we want to come home,” she told Channels Television.
All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.
They assured the President of their support and willingness to come and offer their services to Nigeria like they do in the U.S.
For some of the professionals at the meeting there is no better time to return home than now.
“The determination to have structure in place, I think it will be encouraging for some of us in the diaspora to come back and participate because that is the structure we know here that we are used to,” one of those at the meeting said.
There are many Nigerian professional in the united states and around the world and leveraging on their expertise would be a boost for the nation in economic recession.
President Muhammadu Buhari signing Paris Agreement on Climate Change to cut Green House Emissions
President Buhari had on Thursday signed Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
He said that his signing of the agreement had demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to a global effort to reverse the effects of the negative trend.
The President said made the statement while addressing the opening of the meeting on Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development in New York, co-hosted by Nigeria and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the Side Events of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).
The agreement commits Nigeria to reducing “Green House Gas Emissions unconditionally by 20 per cent and conditionally by 45 per cent” in line with Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions.