President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Pretoria, South Africa called on all Nigerians in the Diaspora to always remember their home.
While he said that they represented some of the best human assets that Nigeria has with their education and exposure to the world, he urged them to use their “resources, skills and talents to help the development of Nigeria.”
He stated this when he met with Nigerians in South Africa, charging them to be diligent, focused and resourceful in all their engagements, especially in improving their net worth through learning new skills, good education and building their networks positively.
He said, “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 assets 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.”
According to a statement by Garba Shehu, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media and publicity, the president also told the gathering, which included students, traders, medical doctors, clerics and academics, that an agency had been established by the federal government, headed by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, to guide them on how to actualise their contributions to the country.
The President said he was shocked at the outbreak of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
“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 with the families of all those who lost their lives over the years in such tragic incidents. May their souls rest in peace,’’ he added.
President Buhari also commiserated with those who were injured, praying for their quick recovery, and sympathized with those who lost property and other valuables.
“As a government, we are quite disturbed by these very unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address this issue and prevent their re-occurrence 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 Air Peace Airlines, who showed compassion and patriotism by immediately offering to evacuate our Nigerian brothers and sisters who had been affected by these xenophobic attacks,’’ he said.
He assured Nigerians that the South African authorities had expressed their apologies over the incidents and resolved to take necessary steps to end the ugly trend.
“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,” he said.
President Buhari also called on all Nigerians to be law abiding and respect constituted authorities of other countries, urging “the few that sometimes gives us a bad name, to desist from such misdemeanours and be our good ambassadors.”