The Nigerian community in the U.S. has embarked on the registration of members for its proposed Nigerian Federal Credit United Union in the country.
Inaugurating the exercise at the Nigerian House in New York, the Consul General, Mr Benayaogha Okonye, said a credit union for the Nigerian community was long overdue.
The credit union is a financial cooperative owned, controlled and operated by its members on the principle of people helping themselves and providing its members with an array of financial services including loans at competitive interest rates.
Okonye wondered why Nigerians resident in the U.S. had no such important financial organisation in spite of their numerical strength.
He allayed the fears of Nigerians about the fidelity of the idea and the tedious process of securing the licence, saying there was no cause for alarm.
“Nobody should be afraid of this project. It is something we have looked at. I have asked all the questions that need to be asked.
“We should know that the purpose is to empower and develop ourselves. Nobody within this system can be defrauded,” Okoye said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that U.S. regulations require a minimum of 3,000 members, among other conditions, for the licensing of federal credit unions.
NAN further reports that the initiative also received the endorsement of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations and the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA).
Mrs Catherine Udida, the Minister Plenipotentiary, Second Committee of the mission, said the initiative would help boost the profile of the Nigerian community.
She said the move was timely coming at a time the Federal Government was taking steps to harness the enormous financial resources of the Diaspora community for national economic development.
Udida, who represented the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, however, urged members of the steering committee to be above board.
“There must be transparency; you have to make sure you win the trust of Nigerians because this is a noble idea,’’ she said.
NIDOA’s representative, Mr Isaac Inyang, expressed the “full support of the organisation” for the proposed credit union.
Inyang, who is the Vice President of NIDOA, cautioned intending members against providing false information in the registration form.
“Authorities are closely monitoring the process; if you give even one piece of false information it will kill this dream,” he said.
Earlier, Chairman of the Steering Committee, Mr Bello Kazeem, said that the cooperative would operate as a community bank that would provide a wide range of banking and financial services to members.