President Muhammadu Buhari has conferred Nigerian citizenship on 286 adult foreign nationals.
The President, at the conferment ceremony on Thursday at the Banquet Hall of the State House, revealed that the approval was in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) in Chapter III Sections 26 and 27.
He said that the ceremony was a demonstration of his administration’s determination to move as many people as possible away from the label of statelessness into being citizens.
“The Federal Government will give the Ministry of Interior and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development all the supports needed to eradicate statelessness.
“Therefore, through today’s ceremony we are letting the world know that Nigeria is open and inviting you to come and enjoy all the natural resources God has blessed Nigeria with”, he said.
President Buhari further enjoined the new citizens to enjoy all rights and privileges within the confines of the law, conferred on them by their new status as Nigerians, while in the same vein fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities to Nigeria.
He implored “all those concerned with Immigration matters to offer our new citizens quick legal identification”, while their Local Governments assist with integration into a community indigenous to Nigeria and therefore enable them enjoy all the entitlements of a citizen.
On his part, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, assured that the 286 foreigners went through diligent checks by agencies of government as stipulated by the Constitution and have fulfilled all statutory and administrative requirements.
He asserted that foreigners striving to become Nigerian citizens 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.
“Without any doubt, ours is a great nation, richly endowed; and blessed with great people. Smart people continue to flock to our nation, to do business with us and have a sizeable slice of the Nigeria pie. Our nation has therefore always been attractive to foreign nationals who have been so pleased to share in our dreams and destiny and we shall continue to welcome every qualified applicant that will add value to our nation”, the Minister stated.
Aregbesola further maintained that “irrespective of one’s race, ethnicity, religion and circumstances of birth, what we share in common is our humanity and we can always have the basis for deeper and more meaningful interaction and togetherness, if we work at it.”
He said that the Nigerian Government will continue to encourage foreigners who meet the conditions stipulated for becoming Nigerians, by laying a seamless path to citizenship for them.
He also gave assurances that the full powers and resources of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be deployed to aid the Nigerian citizens to succeed in all of their legitimate endeavours.
The newly conferred citizens are foreign nationals from 49 countries.