Abike Dabiri-Erewa: Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM)

Abike Dabiri-Erewa is chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) – a position she was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018. The commission was established for the purpose of harnessing the potentials and encouraging the contributions of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the development of the country as well as caring for their welfare all over the world.
It provides a platform for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in involving policies and development projects in recognition of their formidable role in the national development function. The purpose is to direct the tremendous human capital and material resources at their command towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of the nation.
Dabiri-Erewa holds the Presidential mandate to bring Nigeria’s high expectations of its Diaspora to pass. She is also the one to lead interventions that ensure the welfare of these Nigerians wherever they may live in the world. She has undertaken a number of such interventions such as in South Africato protect Nigerians against violent attacks in their host countries.
The commission embarked on series of interventions in response to recent attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. The interventions paid off by way of evacuations of stranded Nigerians from South Africa back home since the attacks heightened in 2019.
Amidst the Covid-19 crisis, the commission joined hands with the ministry of foreign affairs and Nigerian missions to evacuate stranded Nigerians around the world. There have been multiple evacuations of Nigerians from several countries as a result of the joint effort.
From June 2020 to March 2021, some 19,085 Nigerians were evacuated and brought back home from various countries for reasons of deportation, human abuses and trafficking, voluntary returnees and the general effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dabiri-Erewa has shown a great deal of commitment in protecting the human capital she targets to mobilise for socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria. She eagerly beams the searchlight in responses to issues affecting Nigerians abroad.
A typical case in point is the intervention of NIDCOM in the gruesome cases of Nigerian students in Northern Cyprus. The alarming disclosure that no less than 100 Nigerian students studying in various institutions in Northern Cyprus were killed in inexplicable and mysterious circumstances came from Dabiri-Erewa.
She also took the necessary actions through the Interpol alongside the office of the attorney general of the federation and other international dealings demanding justice on behalf of Nigerians.
She engages actively within and outside the country towards advancing the course of Nigerians in the Diaspora. She was part of the 25th anniversary of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas where she was amazed at the rating of Nigerian doctors as the best brains in the Americas.
The commission has taken appropriate steps to ensure proper coordination between its operations and state governments in relating with Nigerians in Diaspora. It has appointed State Diaspora Focal Point officers, whose role is to dialogue and ensure harmonious coordination of Diaspora engagements at the grassroots.
Another strategic step taken by the commission is the setup of Ad hoc National Committee of the Nigerians in Diaspora Investment Fund. The move is in recognition of the huge and yet accelerating role of Diaspora remittances in Nigeria’s economic growth and development. The committee was mandated to determine the mission and objectives of the fund as well as stipulate the procedures for its utilization and management.
The officers now operate in as many as 33 states of the federation, including the FCT as the commission’s advocacy to states to key into the larger Diaspora movement. Last May, the focal point officers successful held a three-day summit in Abuja, the third in the series since 2019.
Also, last July NIDCOM held the `National Diaspora Day’ – the third in the series since the federal government’s declaration of 25th July every year as a date to recognise and applaud Nigerians in Diaspora for their contributions to national development. This provides an opportunity to ensure networking, dialogue and constructive interface between Nigerian professionals and experts in the Diaspora as well as Nigerians at home on development challenges and opportunities of the nation.
Striding forward, the commission will be hosting the third in the series of Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit in November 2021 with other stakeholders from across the globe. The summit is designed to lubricate Diaspora’s interest and participation in investing back home in any sector of their choice.

The summit is yielding the desired fruits so far. After the 2019 summit, two Nigerians resident in Saudi Arabia, put together the first Saudi Arabia/Nigeria Investment Forum. This has helped to further broaden the channels for foreign investment inflow.
 The high stake that Nigerians in Diaspora holds in the domestic economy – contributing annual remittances in the region of $20-$25 billion, Dabiri-Erewa is pressing to give them the right to vote in elections back home. The commission has engaged the National Assembly and National Diaspora Voting Council to make it a reality in Nigeria through an amendment to the country’s Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.
She attended Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife where she obtained a degree in English Language. She proceeded to the University of Lagos, Akoka from where she obtained both a post graduate Diploma and a Master’s degree in mass communication. She is an alumnus of the School of Government, Harvard University, USA.
Dabiri-Erewa joined politics after 15 years of service in the Nigerian Television Authority and served three terms in the Federal House of Representatives. While in the house, she chaired the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs.
She was appointed senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora in 2015. She served in that capacity until her appointment to the present position in 2018 and confirmed by the Legislature in 2019.