The Federal Government, on Monday, granted 217 foreign nationals Nigerian citizenship, including an 88-year-old American missionary, who decided to remain in Nigeria as citizens.
Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, formally presented the beneficiaries with the Nigerian citizenship certificates, after administering oath of allegiance on them at a ceremony in Abuja.
According to him, 129 persons were granted citizenship by naturalisation, while the 88 others got Nigerian citizenship by registration.
The beneficiaries included Americans, Indians, Lebanese, Israelis, Dutch, Congolese, Cameroonians and Ghanaians, among others.
He said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had granted approval to the number of awardees, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In view of the security challenge in the country, the minister said the awardees were screened by the ministry, after securing the necessary statutory clearance from the state of domicile and relevant security agencies.
“In this regard, you are enjoined to enjoy all rights and privileges within the confines of the law conferred on you by the new status as Nigerians, while, in the same vein, fulfilling your fundamental obligations and responsibilities to Nigeria,” Moro said.
He urged the awardees to conform with the national ethics and code of conduct, saying “as new citizens, you are admonished to abide by ideals of institutions of the Nigerian national flag, anthem and respect all constituted authorities.”
The 88-year-old missionary, Dr Alma Rohm of Baptist Church, Iwo, Osun State, expressed her joy to be called a Nigerian by her new status, after about 63 years of sojourn in Nigeria.