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Nigerians in Diaspora and Hidden Agenda

Recently, I received a call from Japan Times, a major English newspaper in Tokyo for interview. It was about Nigerian Diaspora I spoke to them about 6 months ago. They did not call back at that time. So I assumed, that after all no one ever care to sympathize Nigerians' predicament in Tokyo because Nigerians in Tokyo have been notoriously known for most publicized crime problems, notably in bars, night clubs, and strip theaters committing a series of drink-spiking and bill-padding incidents. Sadly, those incidents are the only their history broadly known in Japan.

My message was totally odd to what is expected in the normal circumstances: "Our organization, SWACIN Inc. supports Nigerian Diaspora." Then strange silence takes over the moment. At that time, the editor from Japan Times did not answer to my email and I thought he would never reply again. Now receiving a call, my mind is set to address very important issues, which not only Japanese but the international community are not aware of. The following is the 'Hidden Agenda" that will be discussed during the interview.

There are good reasons why we should be compassionate to the Nigerians diaspora. Nigerians are trapped by all sorts of difficulties, which are not intimately understood or supported by the international community. To be more specific, Nigerian society can be identified as huge quick sand where once individuals fall into the categories of the poor, they keep their foot drugged without hope of ever getting out of it for a life time. Only those who are lucky enough to attain positions in government have chance to enjoy economic stability, but they may impair visions for justice by putting their hands on corruption.

It is sad fact that government’s funds have not provided basic necessities to general populations in Nigeria—such as light, water and effective legal systems. In pursuit of Millennium Development Goal, U.S., England, and Japan provided fund to support Nigeria through the government but hardly had it reached to the very people who needed it. According to the World Bank report, the government of Nigeria received approx. $23.48 billion dollar revenues from its own oil revenue resource, and additional assistance generated $1,915,820,000 from oversea aid, Net official development assistance, such as loans and grants in 2012 alone. Then the funds did very little to help the poor and needy in Nigeria. As I am talking, there still are no lights, and no welfare scheme to help the poor in Nigeria. Police do not come rescue the victims even if someone regularly suffers from violence, but instead, they’d ask for bribes.

Adding to its lack of interest to help the poor, Nigeria has built up its bad names for itself. The youth in Nigeria who are gone overseas are as mentioned earlier, brought to the media attentions around the world for committing fraud, embezzlements, and infamous Nigerian letters. These Nigerians are portrayed, not as victims of unsteady and uncaring Nigerian political systems, but as well-to-do trouble makers. Obviously they do not earn much compassion. Therefore, those who do not understand the internal problems of the country, can easily frame Nigerian youths as criminally motivated and spoiled by oil rich disposable income. You may hear stories of the Nigerian diaspora being arrested just because they are Nigerians.

Dora Akunyili has called for Rebranding Nigerian Project and pointed out that innocent Nigerians have been arrested indiscriminately and some have been denied visas simply because they are Nigerians. This is not only in Japan, but it is world-wide. Such thing is not known in Japan, and well worth of unveiling. Prof. Dora put considerable efforts in fixing outside look of Nigeria, but she has not done enough to help the youth feel it is worth staying in the country.

So what is the result of all this? Not only do most Nigerians suffer from the unemployment and poverty, but also earn minimal compassion and attentions, while the government systematically and habitually outwit the international community and get away with its loot supposedly reserved for the poor.

Can Japanese do anything about it? Japan cannot change how Nigerian government is mistreating their own people, but we can raise voice against it. International communities should stop giving money to the government of Nigeria. Nigeria must stop misusing the revenue and international public fund, but start providing it to the poor. Or the system continues to affect the rest of the world as it is driving away Nigerian youths from their home land to commit crime.

Importance of Collaboration
There are important benefits for helping the poor, in this case, Nigerians that we should take notice of. For example, there is serious problem, called climate change and global warming. Japan cannot solve nagging environmental problems caused by the depletion of ozone layers and increasing green-house effects. In order to reduce the impact of climate change, providing the underdeveloped nations with proper education and employment is very important. This would bring the awareness among the people about the climate change, which leads to international cooperation. What one country does affect the conditions of other countries. Therefore, representing the voice of voiceless is critical in today’s world. This is how NGO–-as we strive to do it--plays very important role in bringing balance to the world around us. Our world today is inter-dependent: As a founder and CEO of SWACIN Inc., I am hoping to bring out voices of voiceless, and offer solutions to the problems in the Niger Delta.

The above is exactly what I am going to utter to the Japan Times. If you ever come across the article, you may also read about new Japanese Language Program for Nigerians in Tokyo offered by SWACIN Inc. which we broad-cast on the air having as many as 50 participants to the radio show along with 100 text books given. Please find more about the radio show here.

South and Central Asia
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