The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved citizenship of 335 foreigners and disqualified 165 others.
This was revealed by the Minister of Interior, AbdulRahman Dambazzau after the FEC meeting in Abuja.
He said the approvals were given based on the recommendation of an advisory committee comprising representatives of the Department of State Security and Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.
The briefing was held after the FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Dambazau explained that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nigerian citizenship received 500 applications and recommended 335 of the applicants for approval.
“The Ministry of Interior memo is on granting of citizenship to non-Nigerians, who applied.
“So we sit down to consider those applications. The last time this was done was in 2013. So we had some backlog of these applications.
“We have over 500 applications that we considered; out of these, 500 applications, 335 in total, were recommended for citizenship and this memo was brought to the council to that effect. Now the citizenship is either by naturalisation or by registration.
“There are 245 that applied for citizenship by naturalisation and the requirements to be met are clearly stated in section 26 of the constitution.
“Then there is citizenship by naturalisation and that is what is popularly known as Niger-wives, which is for women from foreign countries, who are married to Nigerian citizens.
“And that is also clearly spelt out in section 27 of the constitution.
“So, the requirements are there; we consider the requirements; those, who meet the requirement, we recommend, and the advisory council recommends and sends a memo to council for approval.
“So, today, the Council approved the recommendations of those who applied – 345 of them: 245 by naturalisation and 90 by registration.’’
The minister stated that all the successful applicants had complied with the 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.’’