Updated: March 3, 2021
It gives me pleasure to be with you today. I hope you had a memorable 59th Independence Anniversary celebrations on 1st October 2019. This auspicious occasion calls for unity of purpose, strength and focus by all Nigerians, at home and abroad, for our progress and development as a nation.
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- As you are aware, in all my engagements outside Nigeria, I have always set aside time to meet with our country men and women in Diaspora in a Town Hall setting like this. My message is three fold and simple :
- First you are our Ambassadors and the face of our country to the world wherever you are. The world is therefore, watching you and would make judgments on Nigeria based on your comportment and actions.
- Second, in whatever legitimate engagement you find yourself, you must strive to excel and be the best.
- Third, while you are out in the Diaspora, do not forget home. You represent some of the best human asset that Nigeria has. With your education and exposure to the world, you are at the cutting edge of technology. I , therefore , urge you to use your resources, skills and talents to help the development of Nigeria.
- We have now established a dedicated agency, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, whose Chairman/CEO is here with us today, to help guide you in actualizing your willing contributions to the development of our country.
- The recent acts of xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa. It was an embarrassment to the continent. Let me again use this medium to condole the families of all those who lost their lives over the years in such tragic incidents. May their souls rest in peace.
- I also commiserate with all those who were injured. May God heal their wounds. My sympathies are also with those who have lost properties.
- As a government, we are quite disturbed by this very unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address this issue and prevent their reoccurrence with the South African government. I had earlier directed the evacuation of Nigerians who do not feel safe to remain here.
- Over five hundred have returned home and are being reintegrated into their communities. At this juncture, I wish to express my profound gratitude to Chief Allen Onyeama the Chairman of Airpeace Airlines, who showed compassion and patriotism by immediately offering to evacuate our Nigerian brothers and sisters who had been affected by these xenophobic attacks.
- During my visit here, we have discussed these attacks on foreigners and Nigerians. The authorities have expressed their apologies over the incidents and have resolved to take necessary steps to end this ugly trend in the interest of our relationship.
- We have just inaugurated the Nigeria/South Africa Bi-National Commission at the level of Heads of State with a firm determination to further bring our two countries together in a mutually beneficial partnership. Let us therefore give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence.
- Let me also call on all Nigerians to be law abiding and respect constituted authorities while you live here. May I also enjoin the few that sometimes gives us a bad name, to desist from such misdemeanours and be our good ambassadors.
I thank you and wish you all the best in your endeavours. God bless you. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria