The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday in Ottawa, the Canadian capital, said although a few citizens dent the country’s reputation abroad, the vast majority of Nigerians are honest, hardworking and straightforward people who are making positive impact globally.
“The vast majority of Nigerians all over the place are honest, straightforward people trying to survive in those places and be responsible citizens wherever they find themselves,” the VP said during an interactive session with some leaders of Nigerian groups across different provinces in Canada.
This is according to a statement signed on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the VP on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, titled ‘Osinbajo commends Nigerians abroad, says majority honest, hardworking & thriving.’
According to him, “What you tend to find is that a few people do the damage. There is a negative characterisation that comes out of that.”
Therefore, to prevent this he urged Nigerians in the diaspora to engage with each other “to ensure that people see the damage that is being done to society.”
“We can engage with our people and have a lot more conversations around trying to prevent people from committing offences and crimes, but more importantly, being able to self-regulate in our communities, talking about it frankly and openly.
“We must engage countries also so that Nigerians are not profiled. This is something that we have been doing, working with embassies in different countries to be sure that Nigerians are given a fair chance and that there is no negative profiling of Nigerians,” he added.
Osinbajo also revealed that the Federal Government had established links with institutions such as Carleton University, Ottawa and Queen’s University in Kingston who are providing training programmes for Nigerians.
Citing China and India, Osinbajo argued that populous countries all share similar concerns about brain drain.
“This is why you have a huge Indian diaspora, huge Chinese diaspora.
“What is important is that we train our people well so that wherever they go, they are able to get good paying jobs, so that they don’t get jobs well below their dignity wherever they find themselves.
“We already have a reservoir of talent and experience in the diaspora everywhere and the more training we are able to do, the more collaboration we are able to have and the better for us all,” the VP said.
In his remarks, the Nigerian High Commissioner, Adeyinka Asekun noted that Nigerians living in Canada will soon be able to apply for 10-year passport leaflets, being the third country to roll out the process after the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
On Monday afternoon, the VP received two Nigerian-Canadians occupying top government positions; the Deputy Premier of Alberta Province, Kaycee Madu and a Deputy Minister in Alberta, Ako Ufodike.
Dignitaries present at the interactive meeting included the Canadian Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussein; Special Advisers – Economic Matters, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu; Social Investment Programmes, Mrs. Mariam Uwais and Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole.
Others included the Minister in the Nigeria High Commission in Canada, Obioma Nzwewuji; Chairman/CEO Nigeria-Canada Trade Investment Group, Taiwo Odutola and the leaders of Nigeria-Canada Associations from all the provinces across Canada, among others.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the vice president is currently on a three-day visit to the North American country.
He is expected back in Abuja later this week