The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) says it will keep on engaging with the National Assembly on Diaspora voting.

 

NiDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa said during the State House Ministerial Briefing put together by the Presidential Communications Team, on Thursday in Abuja.

 

She said that the commission had talked with both chambers of the National Assembly on the requirement for Diaspora voting, yet its work was not fruitful.

 

Members from the National Assembly as of late voted against the Bill looking to provide Diaspora voting in the Constitution.

 

“We engaged with committees on Diaspora affairs in the parliament both at the House and Senate, particularly for Diaspora voting, unfortunately, we didn’t succeed.

 

“The National Assembly is still not interested in Diaspora voting, but we will not relent in continuing to engage with them because I believe and every person should know that the Diasporan should be able to vote.

 

“So, we hope that we will continue to engage with the parliament,’’ she said.

According to her, there is no contention about Diaspora voting, as a Diasporan is somebody who is living lawfully in another country.

 

Dabiri-Erewa said an illegal immigrant that went through the desert couldn’t be named a Diasporan.

 

The NiDCOM boss added that to be a Diasporan, one should be a lawful resident with a name, address, and evidence of tax payment in that country.

 

“And that will even help us in defining Diaspora for those who are worried, it is not because you ran to another country that you are going to vote, no, you have to be a legal resident.

“Don’t be worried that maybe some are more in number. With the data that we are compiling, no tribe is more than the other; in Sudan alone, there are about five million Nigerians there, that is the truth.

 

“So, with the data, we are compiling, you will find that Nigerians of all tribes are all over the world.

 

“So, if Diaspora voting starts, it doesn’t mean that we will start at a go; it is left for INEC to decide. You can start with personnel, maybe, military personnel that is posted abroad.

 

“We have to vote, it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when it is going to start,’’ Dabiri-Erewa said.

 

She said NiDCOM would keep on talking with the parliament on the issue.

 

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