The President, Muhammadu Buhari , said on Tuesday that he was not opposed to Nigerians in Diaspora voting during elections.

He added that the National Assembly was, however, required to pass relevant laws to give legal backing to the idea before Nigerians in this category can vote.

The President spoke in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a meeting with the Executive Committee members of the Nigerian Community in Ethiopia.

The NICE members were led by David Omozuafoh to the interface, which was organised by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

He said, “I have said it severally that I am not against it (Diaspora voting). However, you will need to convince the National Assembly to amend the relevant laws to make Diaspora voting a reality.”

The Electoral Act currently has no provision for Diaspora voting, though the Independent National Electoral Commission claims it has the capacity to hold elections simultaneously in Nigeria and in Diaspora.

The State House said in a statement by Buhari’s media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, that the President also declared at the meeting that his regime was “fully determined to combat and defeat all acts of criminality, banditry and terrorism in the country.”

Speaking on economic matters and doing business in Ethiopia, Buhari said he had been briefed on the challenges faced by some Nigerian companies with investments in the country, especially the Dangote Group and Lubcon.

The President stated, “I have directed the relevant ministries to take up these issues with a view to resolving all complaints amicably with the Ethiopian authorities.”

Buhari expressed concerns about the conduct of a few Nigerians in the Diaspora which he said had given the wrong impression about the majority who were hardworking. He urged such Nigerians to change their ways and obey the laws of their host countries.

Earlier, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, Bankole Adeoye, extolled the huge investments of the Nigerian Government in Ethiopia since independence.

He described the Nigerian Embassy in Addis Ababa as one of the Nigerian missions in the whole of Africa with the largest diplomatic and residential premises.

The envoy stated, “Nigeria has continued to live the saying that Africa is the centrepiece of her foreign policy especially with the many impacts in the AU, the United Nations Economic Community for Africa and Ethiopia as whole.”

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