Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo hosted a town hall meeting with top leaders of the Nigerian Community in Canada.
The town hall meeting took place in Ottawa. During the meeting, Yemi Osinbajo commended most Nigerians in diaspora for being honest, hardworking and wave-makers around the world.
Also, he acknowledged the fact that some are black legs who are denting Nigeria’s image abroad.
He said: “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.
That is the story of the vast majority.”
He however stressed that what you tend to discover is that a few people do the damage, and “there is a negative characterization that comes out of that”.
As a preventive measure, Osinbajo urged Nigerians in diaspora to “engage with our communities wherever they are to ensure that people see the damage that is being done to society”.
He said: “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.
“Look at what is going on here (in Canada). There are so many Nigerians, professionals and politicians who are in very serious positions of responsibility.”
While answering the question on the difficulty in processing cases through the judicial system of Nigeria, Osinbajo said there’s a lot of innovation in the legal sector in Nigeria.
He said: “A lot of start-ups in the legal sector in Nigeria are using innovation. There are those who are case aggregators, those using some measure of artificial intelligence in being able to sort through materials and present opinions.
“There’s a lot more openness and we have a Chief Justice of the Federation who has pledged to be open to technology and quicker in processing of cases.”
While talking about collaboration by Canadian universities offering training programmes for Nigerians, he noted that there is an existing relationship “with some universities here like Carleton University, Ottawa, Queen’s University in Kingston already doing some work”.
He noted that “there’s concern around brain drain but the reality is that there will always be that issue and huge countries like ours will always have it”.
He explained that there are some countries with identical experiences, “which 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.
“That synergy is bound to happen; a lot of collaboration going on in the tech space, in medicine and science, that is always going to happen.
“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”.
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