A total of 86 Lebanese, 14 Britons, and 4 Americans were among the 286 foreigners conferred with the status of Nigerian citizenship by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, following an approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Out of the deserving persons who signed to be Nigerians, 208 were conferred citizenship status by naturalization, while the remaining 78 by registration after they officially recited the oath of allegiance and the Nigerian national pledge during the ceremony held at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Addressing the new Nigerian citizens, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to immediately issue the new Nigerians with certificates as appropriate to enable them begin to enjoy the status conferred on them wherever they reside in the country.
While urging them to endeavour to make positive contributions to the different communities they reside, and abide by the ideals of the nation, President Buhari said the ceremony was a constitutional requirement aimed to remove the tag of “statelessness” on every bonafide citizen of the country.
Earlier, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola revealed that the foreigners had gone through a series of thorough checks by the nation’s security agencies before being considered qualified and deserving Nigerian citizenship.
He said the Federal government was determined to encourage high net worth individuals as well as give recognition to other qualified foreigners in the country in a bid to make Nigeria the destination of choice for investment opportunities.
The Minister also urged them to guide their privileged status jealously as citizenship of Nigeria also confers on them corresponding responsibilities to contribute their quota to facilitate the development of Nigeria generally.
The conferment ceremony was the first to take place since 2018.