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Nigerians in Diaspora Contribute $20b to Country’s Economy-APC Canada

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) says that Nigerians in diaspora contribute US$20 billion annually to the country’s economy, and so deserve to vote and be voted for.

The Vice Chairman of APC in Canada, Dr Abiola Oshodi, stated this while speaking to newsmen on telephone on Monday.

Oshodi explained that there was the need for diaspora voting for Nigerians outside the shores of the country because they contribute immensely to the development of their fatherland through representation.

“It is a pleasure mixed with pain, disappointments, passion for change, and patriotism.

“And it is another opportunity for me to preach again on the rights of Nigerians in diaspora to vote and even be voted for, “because we don’t deserve less

“We are ambassadors of Nigeria.

And home calls us to service, duty and patriotism. We work under cold sheets of ice to remit US$20 billion home annually.

“To stress how important the diasporan contribution is to the Nigerian economy: Our nation is borrowing US$3 billion from Afrexim Bank to be repaid for years at an interest. Another US$7 billion is to be gotten from securitization of our annualized dividends from Liquified Natural Gas.

“These two interventions are meant to pay the backlogs of forex and reduce the pressure on the Naira. But irrespective of how helpful this intervention might seem, the bigger truth is that a borrower is servant to the lender,” he stated.

Oshodi said that the funds were a remittance inflow from Nigerians living in US, Canada, UK, France and other foreign countries.

“These are almost free funds. Not foreign loans. But free dollars, pounds, euros sent by Nigerians abroad to pay the school fees of relations, hospital bills of relations, set up a dialysis centre, repair old bridge constructed by the community  to connect the next town.

“ US$20 billion! Huge funds. Big money. Yet freely given to Nigerian banks, and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for onward transmission to aid local businesses and even service our foreign debts.

“And US$20 billion is a fraction of the potential that we could do. In 2022, India remitted home US$111 billion, Philippines sent US$39 billion, and Egypt remitted US$28 billion.

“The difference between Nigeria and these three countries is that their nationalities abroad are permitted to vote and participate effectively in their political processes.

“If only we would be recognized and encouraged to participate in our elections, we too would contribute so much to the sustainability of our country,” he said.

The APC Vice Chairman, who commended  the Nigerian Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, for sponsoring the Diaspora Voting Bill, said that it was high time Nigerians in diaspora were given a stake on the conference table, adding that “we deserve to be equal partners just like other stakeholders.”

According to him, “there are about 15 million Nigerians, made up of  doctors, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists, and professionals of all kinds, living outside the country.

“If Nigerians abroad were classified as a state, it would be the largest state in the country. Our voting strength would be higher than Kano and it would eclipse Lagos.

“Why should this important bloc be excluded from the political process? Who knows, maybe there is fear that our number could tilt established voting trend and change things since it obviously would be tougher to buy a Canadian-Nigerian consultant and other professionals with a bag of rice.”

Oshodi, a Canadian-Nigerian consultant psychiatrist, described Nigerians abroad as a patriotic stock, a polished breed and well travelled folks, saying it will be wise to draft diasporans who were used to living according to their means into participation in the political process of the country.

The APC chieftain said acquired cultures from saner climes, where laws are feared and obeyed, could impact more on the orientation of the average Nigerian to be better citizens if only Nigerians in diaspora would  be permitted.

Oshodi asked the Nigerian legislature to provide a nationwide legal infrastructure within the Electoral Act for overseas voting.

“Our constitution and laws must be reworked to accommodate the innovation. Of course the path towards Diaspora Voting is fraught with challenges, including logistical, legal, and administrative hurdles.

“However, these challenges are not insurmountable. We must work collectively to overcome them,” he said. (NAN)

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Wuye/Wuse Flyover 85% Completed, Ready in May – Wike

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The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, says the Wuye/Wuse Flyover is 85 per cent completed and will be inaugurated in May.

Wike stated this in Abuja on Saturday, after inspecting the project, along with the Vice-President’s residence and  11-kilometre (km) six lane dual carriage expressway linking Airport Expressway to Kuje.

Wike added that the road from Kuje to Airport Expressway, when completed, would open the area for transformative economic growth and development.

The minister, who equally visited the vice-president’s residence being handled by Julius Berger, expressed optimism that the project would be completed in May.

“I must commend the various contractors, the Arab Contractors and Julius Berger.

“The first site we went to is almost 85 per cent completed, that is, one of those interchanges in Wuye District. The contractors are keeping faith with their commitment to handover the project by May.

“Then we also went to Kuje to inspect the six-lane road of about 11km. The road from the Airport Road down to Kuje will open that area of the Area Council.

“The last time when I went to flag off one of the rural roads, we didn’t see much about the contractors, and I did say that the contractors are not serious.

“Going back there today, I am very impressed with the level and quality of work,” he said.

Speaking at the official residence of the vice-president, the minister said the contractors were at the stage of electrical installations, adding that a lot of changes would be seen in the next few weeks.

“We were at the VP’s residence which is being handled by Julius Berger and like I said, they have made further commitment that by May, they are going to hand it over.

“They are known for quality, and we are financing them well,” the minister said.

Wike reiterated that no ongoing project in the FCT would be abandoned, adding that the projects were considered as priority and have been included in the FCT’s 2024 statutory budget to ensure adequate funding. (NAN)

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Benue Rep Hands over Reconstructed Police Division, Quarters

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The Member representing Gwer /Gwer West Federal Constituency, Arc Asema Achado, has pledged to

enhance the working condition of police personnel in the constituency to boost their morale.

Achado made the pledge when he handed over the reconstructed Aliade Divisional Police Headquarters and personnel quarters, on Saturday in Gwer Local Government Area.

“This initiative stems from my firm belief that a conducive working environment fosters the morale of officers, thereby bolstering their capacity to combat criminal activities and mitigate the prevailing insecurity in the local government area”.

He said law enforcement agencies play critical roles in safeguarding the country and needed good working environment to operate effectively.

Achado recalled that the police division and personnel quarters were in a dilapidated state,  and he had to lobby the Federal Government through the Nigeria Police Force to award the contract.

He urged local authorities and Benue Government to provide infrastructure, vehicles and other logistics for the police and other security agencies to be more clinical in the discharge of their responsibilities.

An official of the Federal Housing Authority, Dr Mathias Byuan, said the federal government has made adequate provision for the building affordable houses for Nigerians.

He also said President Bola Tinubu was committed to providing enough funds to all security formations to enhance Nigeria’s internal and external defence systems. (NAN)

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Police Place N50m Bounty on 2 Katsina Bandits

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The Police Command in Katsina State on Sunday promised a N50 million reward to anyone with useful information that could lead to the arrest of two bandits – Modi Modi and Jan Kare.

The Police, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, alleged that the duo had been responsible for most of the terrorist attacks in the state.

The statement alleged that Modi Modi and Jan Kare, all males, were operating within Katsina State, particularly in the regions of Kankara and Safana Local Government Areas.

“The safety of the residents is of paramount importance, that is why we are making these commitments.

We are taking decisive actions against criminal elements threatening peace and stability,” it said.

Aliyu explained that the identity of the informant and the information provided would be kept strictly confidential.

“All concerned citizens are encouraged to give us any relevant information that could assist the security agencies in apprehending the masterminds behind these heinous crimes of kidnapping and banditry in the state,” he said.

He urged anyone with useful information to contact the command headquarters or call the following numbers: 07015142112 08023871144. (NAN)

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