FG Confers Nigerian Citizenship on 385 Foreigners

FG Confers Nigerian Citizenship on 385 Foreigners

The Federal Government has conferred Nigerian Citizenship on 385 deserving adult foreign nationals from different countries, in a ceremony presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday, 27th May, 2023 in Abuja.

In his remarks at the conferment ceremony which held at Dambazzau Hall, Nigeria Correctional Service Headquarters, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo revealed that the approval is in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) in Chapter III Sections 26 and 27.

The Vice president enjoined the new citizens to fulfill their obligations and responsibilities to Nigeria, while enjoying all rights and privileges within the confines of the law conferred on them by their new status as Nigerians.

He urged them to make positive and useful contributions to the advancement, progress and well-being of the different communities they reside in and to be in one accord with the national ethics and code of conduct of Nigeria.

“I charge you today as the newest citizens of Nigeria to go beyond your pledge of loyalty to our laws as well as the ideals of the anthem to do what you have pledged in your daily lives, by earning an honest living, paying taxes and dues, volunteering for national and local courses, making positive and useful contributions to the advancement and well being of the communities in which you reside, and then you can live up with the words of our national anthem, to serve our father land with love and strength and faith.

Imploring all those concerned with Immigration matters to offer the new citizens quick legal identification, The Vice President directed that the Nigerian Immigration Service should accelerate the process of Issuance of Nigerian Passport to the new Nigerians.

“I further direct that the Nigerian Immigration Service should expidite the process of Issuance of Nigerian Passport to our fellow Nigerian citizens.
On behalf of your brothers and sister, the people of Nigeria, I welcome you all as our newest citizens. He affirmed.

Osibanjo therefore assured the new Nigerians that Nigeria is now their country as Nigerians are receptive people, it’s rich and variant diversity not withstanding.

“A lot of our current traditions have been richly influenced by people and cultures beyond our borders.
We are a hardworking and innovative people, a people of never-ending optimism and abundant capacity, a warm and generous people, connected by vast social network of family and friends. we have always shown ourselves to be our brothers keepers.

On his part, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, assured that the 385 foreigners went through diligent checks by agencies of government as stipulated by the Constitution and have fulfilled all statutory and administrative requirements.

Presenting all deserving foreign nationals to President Buhari for conferment of Nigeria citizenship, Aregbesola asserted that foreigners striving to become Nigerian citizens in their numbers, is an indication that the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to make Nigeria a destination for investment and peaceful coexistence is yielding good fruits.

In his words; ” I need to state that the acquisition of the Nigerian citizenship is a great privilege and not everyone that applies becomes successful. However, that we have a high number of foreigners willing to become Nigerians is an indication that the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to make Nigeria a destination for investment and peaceful coexistence is beginning to yield good fruits as we continue to welcome foreigners to do business here who, after interacting with us, are now desirous of becoming one of us.

The Minister further noted that so far, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has produced the largest number of foreigners who have been conferred Nigerian Citizenship through naturalization or registration.

“In 2017, 335 people took up Nigerian citizenship. But last year, 286 foreigners and today at this ceremony, 385, making a total of 1,006 who have acquired Nigerian citizenship.”

Aregbesola however expressed displeasure with the figure, lamenting that the bane of the smooth pathway to Nigerian citizenship is the constitutional requirement of continuous residency in Nigeria for 15 years.

“I am still not pleased with this figure. In Europe and America, thousands of foreigners are inducted into citizenship every year. They do this to attract youths and people in their prime who would like to contribute to the development of their countries. Let’s face it. There is a limit to your expectations from a non-citizen and it is reasonable to expect an average person to be more loyal to his or her country.

“This is a huge disincentive, considering that in the United States and most European countries, it is five years. Some of these countries have made a habit of snatching young, resourceful and energetic brains – who after four years of schooling and working for just one year – through easy pathways, to obtain quality migration to their countries.” He maintained.

“However, I am happy to announce the BROWN CARD, as the legal instrument to Permanent Residency. The Minister of Interior is now invested with the authority to confer Permanent Residency on non- Nigerian persons, enabling such beneficiaries to live and work in Nigeria without the requirement of renewal every five years, as was the case,” the Minister stated.

In his Vote of Thanks, the MD, Setraco Nigeria Limited, Ziad Mouannes who spoke on behalf of the new citizens, appreciated the Federal Government for an opportunity to be conferred citizens of the country.

He pledged that the new Nigerians will live peacefully as law abiding citizens, who would make efforts to contribute positively towards the growth and development of the country.

Signed
Sola Fasure
Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
27/5/2023

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