By Ismaila Chafe
Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday granted citizenship to 335 foreigners and rejected 165 applications.
The Minister of Interior, retired Gen. Abudulrahman Dambazau, said on Wednesday that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nigerian citizenship received 500 applications and recommended 335 of the applicants for approval.
He explained that 245 of the 335 successful applicants were born by naturalised Nigerians while the remaining 90 persons were foreigners married to Nigerians, popularly referred to as ‘Naija Wives’.
“The Ministry of Interior issued a memo granting of citizenship to non Nigerians who applied.
This is a procedure that takes a number of steps. The last time this was done was in 2013. We have some backlog of these applications.
“Over 500 applications that we considered, out of these, 335 were recommended for citizenship and this memo was brought to council to that effect. Citizenship is either by naturalization or by registration.
“There are 245 that applied for citizenship by naturalization and the requirements to be met are clearly stated in section 26 of the constitution.
“Then there is citizenship by registration and that is what is popularly known as Niger-wives which is for women in foreign countries who are married to Nigerian citizens. That is also clearly spelt out in section 27 of the constitution.
“So, the requirements are there and we considered them. Those who met the requirement, the advisory council recommended and sent to council for approval.
“So, today, FEC approved the recommendations of those who applied, 345 of them. 245 by naturalization and 90 by registration,’’ he said.
Cue out audio – Dambazau
The minister said that all the successful applicants had complied with the requirements of sections 26 and 27 of the Nigerian constitution.
He said: “The moment any applicant doesn’t meet any of the requirement, check section 26 and 27 of the constitution, they are clearly stated there.
“If there are security issues, the security agencies will bring them out to say that a person belongs to a given group in-terms of security risk.
“But apart from that, we followed the rules and regulations, those constitutional requirements must be met.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government in 2013 granted Nigerian citizenship to 174 foreigners while 27 persons were rejected. (NAN)