He noted that those involved in crimes were in the minority.
The President, who said criminality would not be condoned, whether in a foreign land or back home in Nigeria, added that the law was always there to take its full course.
Buhari spoke during a meeting with the Nigerian community in Japan on the sidelines of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, taking place in Yokohama.
He said, “Let me also say that there are a few Nigerians in the Diaspora that are giving us a bad name by engaging in criminal activities. These Nigerians are a minority, they do not represent the values of our country, and I plead with them to change their ways.
“We will not condone any crime whether at home or abroad, and we will also not allow these Nigerians define us as a people with reputation for criminality.
“I am personally very happy that there are millions of Nigerians all over the world, like you here, who are truly making us proud.”
A State House statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Thursday, said the President regarded the more than 17 million Nigerians living abroad as “the face of Nigeria globally and our ambassadors for good.”
Buhari stated, “Many of our Diasporans, like your good selves here today, have excelled in varying fields of endeavour, both professionally and individually.
“You have also made significant and overwhelmingly positive contributions to your Nigerian and international host communities. You have continually been a positive bridge between Nigeria and the world. It is not an easy feat and we commend you, salute your courage and efforts.
Dabiri-Erewa, in an address at the session, described Buhari as “the most Diaspora-friendly leader we have had in Nigeria.”
Nigerians in many fields including science, economics, academics and manufacturing, attended the session.
They were led by the President, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (Asia), Prof. Ejiogu Emenike.
At a separate meeting with the Japanese government’s officials, Buhari sought help to combat piracy and illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, who led the officials of his country to the bilateral talks, specifically thanked Buhari for honouring the invitation to the TICAD7 and Nigeria’s decision to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The PM made a pledge of $300,000 to support Nigeria’s National Defence College and another 12 million Yen for Nigeria’s public health sector.
Nigeria also signed a €50m Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union on Thursday to help in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the country’s North-East.
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