Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in partnership with Multichoice Nigeria on Thursday donated N1 million to a widow who was among the South African returnees to enable her to re-organise her life.
The widow, Mrs Esther Iyoha, a mother of four also received scholarship for one of the children.
Speaking at a brief ceremony organised in Abuja for the donation, Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa said that the gesture was in furtherance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to re-integrate and stabilise Nigerians returning from South Africa, with especial attention to women and children.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the commission would continue to work in line with President Buhari’s mandate to re-integrate and stabilise the women and children of Nigerians returning from the southern African country.
She added that the commission was moved emotionally when it saw the bad state Iyoha and her four children were in on their return from South Africa.
She said that it was for that reason that some Nigerians were moved to offer assistance.
“We are aspiring for a united Africa through our community engagement programme.
“We are also arranging some entrepreneurship programmes with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
“The returnees should be confident because Mr President will not abandon them and the commission is committed to fast-tracking their re-integration in the system.
“I am glad that South Africa is making a move and we, the Nigerian government can only hope to work with their government to tackle the xenophobia issue.
“We will be reaching out to those that are back and to also ensure that women and children are taken care of by re-intregrating them in the system,’’ she added.
Responding, Iyoha said she was happy to be back in Nigeria “because there is no place like home” adding, “living in South Africa was like living in the wilderness”.
She praised the Federal Government, Air Peace airline, NIDCOM, and Multichoice for the help and support they offered to all Nigerian returnees from South Africa.
Iyoha said it was regrettable that Nigerians who had lived in that country for more than 10 years were treated badly in spite of the fact that they were contributing significantly to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product.
“I lost more than 20 million naira because they did not allow us to sell our goods freely.
“The customs service in the country always seized our goods and would not allow us to carry on with our businesses properly.
“I went to live in South Africa in 2010 and in the same year, I lost my husband.
“It has not been easy with four children; so when the Nigerian government said we should return home and we had free transport, I decided to return home.
“We are better now than when we came back because we did not have the opportunities we needed in that country since we were treated as foreigners,’’ she said.
Meanwhile, NIDCOM has assured 485 Nigerians who voluntarily returned from South Africa of its commitment to fast track their reintegration in Nigeria.
The Chairman of NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with SMEDAN in Abuja, according to a statement.
She urged the returnees to remain confident that President Buhari would not abandon them. (NAN)