From Uche Usim, Abuja
NIGERIANS in diaspora have lampooned Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, for dismissing Mr. Mark Gbillah, representing Gwer East Federal Constituency of Benue State, from presenting a petition on behalf of the Mutual Union of Tiv in America (MUTA).
The March 10 incident on the floor of the green chamber drew the ire of Nigerians who described the development as dictatorship and an attempt to silence some Nigerians who were grieving over the forceful takeover of their ancestral lands by marauding herders.
MUTA in a statement by its President, Simon Kusugh and Prof Joseph Zume released yesterday reminded the Deputy Speaker that Nigerians abroad are greatly subsidising the federal budget yearly.
“These are the groups of Nigerians that Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives argues
do not have a right to make a petition to the House. In 2019, Nigerians residing abroad had contributed approximately $23.5 billion to the Nigerian economy
in the form of direct business investments and remittances to their families to help offset hospital,education, water and electricity bills, and for food and security.
“In a functioning society, the Nigerian government ought to have been providing these services, obviating the need for Nigerians abroad to sacrifice their hard earned and some-times meagre salaries. It is worth further pointing out that in 2018, diaspora remittances translated to 83 per cent of the federal budget, and was 11 times the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows. “
The association wondered why a country like China is engaging its diaspora citizens, yet Nigeria’s leadership is actively discouraging and denying Nigerians abroad a voice in the affairs of their country.