Influential MPs heard direct from community leaders about the support they need when they visited Peckham on September 16.
The House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee hosted a workshop with members of the Nigerian diaspora as part of the Committee’s parliamentary inquiry into the relationship between the UK and Nigeria.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Tom Tugendhat MP, led the workshop, alongside local Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle.
Southwark includes one of the largest Nigeria diaspora population in the UK and purpose of the session was to hear from those with ties to both Nigeria and Britain.
MPs broke off into groups with attendees, with each group focusing on a different topic, such as Nigerian SME businesses and trade, education, and security and governance. The discussion groups then fed their conclusions back to the wider group.
Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said: “The Nigerian community is a growing community with interests that we share. You, the diaspora, act as a living bridge between our two communities, the UK and Nigeria.
“During the course of this inquiry we have been reminded of the creativity and innovation generated from Nigeria and its diaspora.
Some of us have personally experienced the warmth of your culture both in the UK and in Nigeria and for others of us this is a new experience.
“We want to hear from you who know it best. We know Nigeria faces challenges as well as opportunities. We want to hear what these are and how the UK Government should partner with Nigeria in the coming years.”
Following the session, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP, Neil Coyle MP, said: “Hearing from members of the Nigerian diaspora has been invaluable, and the conversations had today will play an important role in shaping our inquiry.
The Nigerian diaspora possess a wealth of knowledge and a richness of understanding that can only be gained through lived experience.
“I would like to thank the Southwark Nigeria community for deputising for Lagos. Nigeria and the UK already share close bonds, but from today’s session it is clear that the UK can do more to support Nigerians, and to enable our countries to work closely together.”
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