385 foreigners get citizenship from the Nigerian government.

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The Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola. (Photo credit:Aregbesola Twitter page)

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, emphasized that one of the key goals of the current administration is to establish a strong and stable socio-economic and political framework.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, announced that the federal government has granted Nigerian citizenship to 385 foreign nationals from various continents around the globe. This declaration was made during the 1st 2023 Conferment ceremony of Nigeria Citizenship by Naturalisation and Registration held in Abuja on Saturday.

Highlighting one of the key objectives of the present administration, the minister emphasized the importance of establishing a strong socio-economic and political foundation that would position Nigeria among the top 20 economies worldwide. In pursuit of this vision, the federal government is committed to attracting and welcoming foreigners, investors, talented individuals, and those with exceptional abilities to contribute to the country’s growth.

The conferment ceremony, held after thorough scrutiny by relevant state agencies in compliance with constitutional requirements and administrative protocols, served as an opportunity to officially grant Nigerian citizenship to the deserving 385 individuals.

“I need to state that the acquisition of 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 to make Nigeria a destination for investment and peaceful coexistence are 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.”

“But last year, 286 foreigners and today at this ceremony, 385, making a total of 671 have acquired Nigerian citizenship. 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. The bane of the smooth pathway to Nigerian citizenship however is the constitutional requirement of continuous residency in Nigeria for 15 years.”

He stated that this marked a significant disincentive, especially when compared to countries like the United States and most European nations, where the naturalization process typically takes five years.

The honorable Minister Mr. Rauf Aregbesola further highlighted that certain countries have developed a practice of attracting and enticing young and talented individuals, who, after completing only four years of education and working for just one year, can easily migrate to those countries. He urged the relevant state institutions to carefully reassess this situation during the next constitutional amendment process of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We ought to have easier pathways to citizenship for foreigners than currently obtains.

“Also, while the foreign wives of Nigerian men can automatically become citizens through registration, this same privilege is not available to foreign husbands of Nigerian women.

“This discrimination has robbed us of the gains we could have gotten from this category of foreigners, if there is a pathway for them through registration, as obtains for their opposite sex.”

The Minister announced that the Ministry of Interior has received approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to implement new pathways to permanent residency for eligible foreign nationals. He stated that the Ministry now has the authority to grant permanent residence to foreign nationals who have demonstrated exceptional talents, knowledge, and skills in fields such as Science, Technology, and Medicine.

Mr. Aregbesola expressed optimism that this privilege would attract more talented and resourceful individuals to Nigeria and give them the confidence to stay permanently in the country. He congratulated the new Nigerians who have successfully become citizens, emphasizing that Nigerians are highly regarded worldwide and are among the greatest people on earth.

The minister assured the new citizens that they would not regret their decision to become Nigerians, but reminded them of the responsibility that comes with the privilege. He urged them to make significant contributions to Nigeria’s development in all areas, including the defense of the nation’s territorial integrity and the promotion of the people’s welfare.

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, conferred citizenship on the individuals and urged them to be exemplary ambassadors of Nigeria.

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