THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday, approved the granting of citizenship to 286 foreign nationals residing in the country.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the virual FEC meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, said 600 foreigners applied.
The minister stated stated that he presented to the council the approval made by the Advisory Committee on Nigeria citizenship, comprising the first set.
He explained that another set was expected to be presented by the end of the first quarter or in the middle of the year.
He said: “We received 600 applications from several people, foreign nationals, who are in Nigeria, who have been residing in Nigeria, they are desirous to be Nigerians.
“These applicants are from virtually every part of the world, Americans, North and South Australia, Europeans, Arabs, Asians, all over.”
The minister said the advisory committee approved 286 for FEC’s consideration of the 600 applications received.
Aregbesola further explained that the “grant of Nigerian citizenship is in two categories. There are those that will be considered for naturalisation, and there are those to be considered for registration.
“Who are the ones for registration? They are women married to Nigerians, they are called Naija wives, who, besides having the right of residency and movement, without any restriction or without requirement of visa to and fro to country, are desirous of being Nigerians.
“So, they become Nigerians, they get granted citizenship by registration, whereas foreign nationals who are desirous of Nigerians but are not actually wives of Nigerians, we give them citizenship by naturalisation.
“The number of those who are granted Nigerian citizenship and naturalization, through the collection of applications is 280, while those who are issued registration, is 78.”
It would be the second time under the life of the present administration that foreign nationals are granted citizenship through naturalisation.
Recall that a total of 335 persons were similarly granted citizenship in December 2017.
In his briefing, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said FEC approved a contract for the replacement of Aviation Operations (AVO) at the cost of N12,097,215,800.09.
He said: “So, today (yesterday) in council, a memo was presented by us in aviation. And the amount of the contract to be awarded, which purpose is to replace our AVO bridges is N12,097,215,800.09, which is for 12 months and it will include 7.5 per cent VAT.
“This contract is not only for supply but also for installation and maintenance, including spare parts and is awarded to a company called Gulf of Africa International Limited.”
“This has been taken by Council and approved and this is part of all that we’ve been doing to reactivate the failing infrastructure within the country. And, of course, Lagos being the major airport in the country, this will make passenger facilitation easier, safer and add value and create more efficiency within the system of that particular airport. This is also an ongoing programme for all of our failed airports.”