The First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu has called on Nigerians in the diaspora to contribute their quota to the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
She also called on Nigerian youths to have hope in the efforts of the current administration to deliver on the dividends of democracy and provide for their basic needs.
According to the UN, in 2022, 26,400 Nigerian citizens requested asylum abroad, while 27,000 Nigerian citizens were recognised as refugees and granted protection in 2022.
Mrs Tinubu made the call on Monday at the New York 2023 Nigeria Economic Growth and Trade Summit with the theme: “Stemming Migration Flows by Providing Basic Needs’’.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the summit was organised by the Nigerian Governors’ Wives’ Forum on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The first lady said while migration could offer new opportunities and experiences, it also presented risks and challenges that could manifest in brain drain.
“The brain drain phenomenon where highly skilled individuals leave their home country for supposedly better prospects abroad, is a concern for many African nations, depriving them of their expertise and talents needed for sustainable growth.
“In our various communities, we must work towards creating conditions and providing basic needs that allow people to thrive by providing access to qualitative education, an enabling environment for job creation.
“And the development of local industries that will create viable economic opportunities.
“We must revamp our healthcare sector to ensure that basic health care services are accessible to all.
“Improve health care conditions and stronger social support systems that discourage migration driven by health concerns.
“The Renewed Hope Initiative is an initiative that we just started, aimed at creating a better life for families.
“Our scope covers agriculture, education, economic empowerment, health and social investment, focusing on women and the youth, who are the bedrock of the society.
“Youths account for 70 per cent of our population and women represent 49.6 per cent of the population.
“I believe that schemes which focus on empowering this demographic, coupled with an enabling environment, will gradually begin to reverse the negative trend of migration.’’
She told the wives of the governors that as first ladies, their roles as leaders were critical to driving sustainable change within their communities.
“You must work together with government agencies to complement and support the establishment of laws that protect human rights and provide equal opportunities.
“Policy reforms that encourage skilled individuals to return home after obtaining educational experience abroad, can help reverse the dream.
“We must continue to acknowledge the good work the international agencies, well-meaning individuals in the diaspora and in the private sector, are doing in our nation.
“Through a forum like this, we can encourage diaspora engagement, establish avenues for Nigerians living abroad to contribute to the country’s development.
“Through investment, knowledge sharing, and collaborations which can help mitigate the negative effects of brain drain,’’ she stated.
The first lady urged Nigerians to foster a positive narrative, celebrate their cultural heritage, national achievements and promote a sense of pride in Nigeria.
According to her, Nigeria is on the brink of a major economic recovery of buoyancy.
She charged Nigerian youths to learn the virtues of patience and resilience as everyone continued to work as a collective to help build a greater and better Nigeria.
NAN reports that no fewer than 12 wives of the governors were at the event.
They included the first ladies of Oyo State, Mrs Tamunominini Makinde; Ogun, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun; Imo, Mrs Chioma Uzodinma; and Gombe, Hajiya Asma’u Yahaya.
Also in attendance were the first Ladies of Lagos State, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; Borno, Mrs Falmata Zulum and Kogi, Hajiya Rashidat Yahaya Bello.