While thousands of Nigerians seek greener pastures abroad with many seeking to be citizens of other countries, the country also entertains hundreds of requests from foreigners seeking to be citizens of the West African country.
A total of 286 foreigners were Wednesday granted citizenship by the Nigerian government, an official said.
Rauf Aregbesola, the interior minister, said Wednesday that the 286 positive applicants were less than half of those that applied. His information ministry counterpart, Lai Mohammed, said the applications show that things are not as bad in Nigeria as being painted.
Speaking at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, Mr Aregbesola said the government received 600 applications for citizenship from foreigners.
He said the applicants included Americans, Europeans, North and South Koreans and Australians.
Although Mr Aregbesola did not provide the list of the new Nigerians or of the applicants, he said 208 of those approved were granted citizenship by naturalization, while 78 others were granted citizenship by registration.
“The Ministry of Interior through me presented the Advisory Committee on Nigeria citizenship approval to the Council today. And it’s the first set. By the end of this first quarter or latest by the middle of the year, another set will be presented to council.
“We received 600 applications from several people, foreign nationals who have been residing in Nigeria, but desirous of being Nigerians.
“These applicants are from virtually every part of the world. Americans, North and South Korean, Australians, Europeans, Arabs, Asians, all over of the South Africans. Out of the 600 applicants, the advisory committee approved for the consideration of the council, 286.”
The minister said all the applications were scrutinised by relevant security agencies.
“Before the presentation, let me say, some agents of government scrutinized these applicants. The agencies are the department of state security, the foreign affairs ministry, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and the state of domicile of those individuals,” he said.
Speaking on Wednesday’s approval, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the decision as ‘groundbreaking.’
“It’s a groundbreaking memo as it will tell you because just as some people think Nigeria is not a fit and proper place to live, we have thousands of people who are applying daily all over the world from virtually every continent to be citizens of Nigeria; I think that is very instructive,” Mr Mohammed said.
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