Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) and the University of Ibadan (UI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of an African Diaspora Resource Centre.
The signing of the MoU for the TETFUND funded Centre of Excellence for Diaspora Studies was held on Thursday in Ibadan at the university board room.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa,who signed the MoU on behalf of the commission said the centre would be the first of its kind in the world.
Dabiri-Erewa said she was happy that TETFUND approved the project for UI, adding that she was not surprised, given that UI is the premier university in Nigeria.
She commended the Vice-Chancellor and other management staff for the job of lifting the banner of the University high.
The NIDCOM boss also applauded the staff and students of the Institute of African Studies for their active participation in the activities of NIDCOM.
“Everybody is now talking about diaspora. This is a knowledge centre, that will be an international centre of excellence that will bring diaspora here.
“A lot of people are tracing their roots back to Africa. A lot of people are doing their DNA who are Nigerians and so this is an international project that will bring glory and fame to Nigeria through the University of Ibadan,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
In his remark, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Kayode Adebowale, said research and training were highly rated at the University of Ibadan, adding that the establishment of the Centre of Excellence was a welcome development
He promised to do all within his power to ensure the timely and successful completion of the project.
“This is going to be a site for diaspora studies, an international programme not only for teaching but also research.
“There are a lot of people that are leaving the country, they are also an asset to us but we can also involve them even in the development of this country.
“And apart from that , there are people who do not know there this would be a centre excellence for those types of research studies. I know it is going to be of benefit to the country,” Adebowale said.
The Centre of Excellence is to serve as Africa Diaspora Resource Research Centre, and it will be managed by the Diaspora and Transnational Studies Unit of the Institute of African Studies.
The Centre shall serve as an interface between the academia and related national governance institutions for policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.
It shall facilitate international cooperation by the Diaspora and Transnational Studies programme and NIDCOM with regional and other international institutions such as ECOWAS, AU, UN, IOM, etc.
The Centre shall organise joint research activities, lectures, conferences, symposia, and any other activity of mutual interest.
Research funding shall be provided by TETFUND to cover a 10 year- research programme on ‘Decriminalising the Global Nigerian Diaspora’.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission is an agency of the Federal Government established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide for the engagement of Nigerians in the Diaspora in the policies, projects, and participation in the development of Nigeria.
The Commission also seeks to utilise the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural, and political development of Nigeria for related matters.
The Memorandum of Understanding shall be for five years in the first instance and shall be renewable at the end of every five years.