Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM). has urged the National Assembly to enact a bill that would enable Nigerians in the diaspora to vote in whatever country they reside in.
Dabiri-Erewa said this when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, chaired by Rep. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe (APC-Oyo), to defend the commission’s 2020 budget on Tuesday, October 29.
The NIDCOM chairperson also urged the legislators to amend the law to make electronic voting possible.
“Diaspora voting is in your hands and I think it will be a legacy that you can leave. It does not have to be in 2023 but put a timeframe to when they can vote. It is something we owe Nigerians in the diaspora.
“The smaller countries are doing it so I see no reason we cannot do it. And if the law comes into effect you can put the bill at the discretion of INEC so if they say you can do it in the UK, you go ahead and do it.
“I also think it will have a positive impact on voting in Nigeria. We are also hoping that you are going to amend the law to make electronic voting possible.
“We are talking about the remittance of billions, we are talking about people developing economies of the world; they should be able to vote in the country they reside and this will be a major thing the committee on diaspora can do.”
According to Dabiri-Erewa, the bill could be modified to start off in a few countries at a time before taking off in other countries, it “is a legacy you will be leaving for Nigeria and Nigerians in diaspora”.
She disclosed that the creation of the commission and the committee on diaspora had addressed the situation of Nigerians stranded in Libya.
“For instance, for the first time President Buhari brought back Nigerians from Libya; he set up a delegation and got planes to get them back. It never happened.”
Dabiri-Erewa added that the commission would set up helplines to enable Nigerians in distress call the commission.