Source: Daily Times (Abuja)
By Elizabeth Embu
The Federal Government on Wednesday granted Nigerian citizenship to a total of 174 foreigners.
Briefing journalists after the weekly meeting which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro said a break down of the applications submitted included those from 45 Niger Wives (foreigners married to Nigerians), persons that have been born by naturalised Nigerians and 129 by naturalisation.
He added that in addition to this a total of 27 applications were rejected and were not approved by FEC because « they did not meet the basic requirements of tax payment and ability to live their lives in Nigeria without being economic burdens and security problems ».
He further stated that in going through the applications and making recommendation to the FEC, « a series of factors were taken into consideration, but much more importantly the issue of security that have become very serious consideration especially when foreigners from countries that are prone to violence such as Lebanon and Syria apply to becme Nigerian citizens ».
Moro said this was an important development in Nigeria, considering the fact « we are in this country loosing some level of faith in the viability of Nigeria, on the brightness of the future of Nigeria given the level of potential that we have in this country today by some Nigerians and cynics, especially opposition political parties or persons creating an impression that Nigeria is gravitating towards a failed state. Yet we have foreigners who have very serious economic interest in Nigeria who have lived in this country, some since independence who are eager to become Nigerian citizens by taking into consideration the economic viability and potential of Nigeria and hoping that their lives can better be lived in this country as Nigerian citizens than citizens of their countries. »
He noted that amongst the applicants were those from South America, Venezuela, Mexico, Aian Countries, Thailand, South Korea, Cameroun, Syria Lebanon, Greece, India, Singapore.
According to a working document of the Federal Executive Council, the Minister of Interior had presented a memo to Council seeking approval for the report of the cabinet committee to review the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Nigerian Citizenship (ACNC) for the grant of Nigerian citizenship to foreign applicants.
The council had inaugurated a seven-member committee to review the recommendations for the ACNC on the grant of the Nigerian citizenship. The committee then concluded its assignment with a report to council.
The EFCC also submitted its report on the 79 applicants referred to it in 2012; and recommended only 51 out of the 79 applicants for citizenship. 24 out 79 applicants were not recommended by the EFCC.
After deliberations, council approved the grant of Nigerian citizenship to 45 applicants for Nigerian citizenship by registration.
The council approved the grant of Nigerian citizenship to 129 applicants by naturalization
The council also approved that the applications for Nigerian citizenship be denied, in line with the recommendations of the EFCC to 27 applicants.