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Nigerians abroad threaten to withhold $23b remittance over Wase’s remarks, demand apology

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[FILES] Femi Gbajabiamila

Nigerians in Diaspora Worldwide, yesterday, threatened to withhold over $23 billion yearly remittances to the country after the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, allegedly infringed on their rights.

The group, in a petition, addressed to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on Wase to reverse his rejection of a complaint by the Mutual Union of Tiv in America on issues relating to land grab in Benue State.

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The Nigerians abroad threatened to halt immediate fund repatriation if the demand fails to see the light of day in 14 days.

Wase, who presided over plenary last Wednesday, had rejected a petition presented by the member representing Gwer East/West Federal Constituency of Benue State, Mark Gbillah, on behalf of Tiv people living in America.

The Diaspora group had petitioned the House over alleged take-over of their ancestral lands, forcing their kith and kin to flee for safety.

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In the request, the Nigerians drew from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa, demanded a reversal of Wase’s stance on the matter.

They also demanded an unconditional public apology from the deputy speaker, adding that Gilbah should be allowed to present the motion for and on behalf of them as a concerned group of Nigerians overseas.

The aggrieved citizens equally urged Gbajabiamila to convene an urgent virtual meeting with the Nigerians in Diaspora community to address the issue and reassure them of his full support.

The petition read in part: “We cannot understand up till now, why Hon. Ahmed Wase, a person occupying such a high position in the National Assembly, has decided to run down the whole Nigerians in Diaspora and the policy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Diaspora in such a manner at a time when the contributions of the Nigerians in Diaspora are highly needed and desired.

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“Such action and statement are clearly at variance with what we, the Nigerians in Diaspora, are being made to understand and believe by the Federal Government of Nigeria. We are still in shock and total disbelief that everything that has been done and achieved in the last 20 years on Diaspora engagement is now being rubbished and put to nullity by the utterances of one single person.

“Rt. Honourable Speaker, the Nigerians in Diaspora have been extremely patient with the broken promises of both the government and the legislators, where the rights of Nigerians in Diaspora to vote have been treated with levity. Even at that, the Nigerians in Diaspora community have never faltered in remitting millions of foreign currencies to Nigeria and bringing in potential investors. Wase castigated and called us intruders.”

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