Nigerian government disowns Door of Return 2020 project

Abike Dabiri Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Federal Government has disowned the Door of Return 2020 programme being circulated by unknown persons.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said in a statement on Saturday by its spokesman, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, that the project did not originate from its office, the Federal Government or the Lagos State Government.

“It must be stated categorically here that the said program does not have the consent of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, the Lagos State Government or Federal Government of Nigeria,” Mr Balogun said.

He, however, added that the programme has been held in Badagry, Lagos since 2017.

“The Nigerian Diaspora Commission, the Lagos State Government, the African Door of Return Experience and the African Renaissance Foundation have been organizing the Door of Return in Badagry, Lagos for the past three years since 2017,” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the 2019 edition took place in October 15th to 20th 2019, and the program was held in Badagry, Lagos with the theme: ‘A PILGRIMAGE TO THE MOTHERLAND, THE THIRD COMING’ with participants from across the globe.

“The policy document in circulation is not from the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, neither the Commission nor any person acting on behalf of NIDCOM is responsible for the circulation.”

The statement said those behind the fraudulent programme “are playing on the minds of tourists, based on the recent successful Afronation program in Ghana this December.”

Social media users have been trolling Nigeria for copying Ghana’s successful Year of Return programme.

NIDCOM, however, commended Ghana for “having been reaching out to the historic African Diaspora in the last thirteen years and has issued citizenship to over 100 Americans,” adding that “there is no competition or comparison whatsoever.”

The commission assured that Nigeria and other African countries would continue to “encourage and support each other and do all we can to motivate Africans in Diaspora, who are now more determined, to reconnect with Africa, the motherland.”