The Federal Government on Wednesday granted Nigerian citizenship to 174 foreigners.
Briefing journalists after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, said a breakdown of the applications submitted included those from 45 ‘Niger Wives’ (foreigners married to Nigerians), and 129 from persons that were born by naturalised Nigerians.
Mr. Moro said another 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”.
“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 become Nigerian citizens,” the minister said.
The minister also criticised Nigerians who were losing faith in the country.
“We are in this country losing 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 said.
Mr. Moro said the applicants were from diverse countries as Venezuela, Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, Cameroun, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, India, and Singapore.
According to a working document of the FEC, the Interior Minister 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.