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…New citizens have seen good in Nigeria, says Aregbesola
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, conferred Nigerian citizenship rights to 286 persons comprising Lebanese, British, American, Egyptian, Syrian, Italian, Palestinian nationals.
Of the 286 foreign nationals presented with certificates of Nigerian Citizenship, 208 received certificates for Naturalisation, while 78 got certificates by Registration.
“You have pledged your allegiance to Nigeria. When you give your love and loyalty to Nigeria, she returns her love and loyalty to you,” Buhari said at the award event held at the State House, Abuja.
Exercising the constitutional powers conferred on him, by Chapter III Sections 25-31 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President said the Ministry of Interior ensured that only deserving persons were recommended to the Federal Executive Council to be conferred with Nigerian citizenship.
He admonished the new citizens that Nigeria is a nation united by the principles of opportunity, equality, and liberty as enshrined in the Constitution.
”No matter where you come from, or what faith you practice, this country is now your country. Our history is now your history, and our traditions are now your traditions. Nigeria is your home and pride and joy.
“You are expected to abide by the Ideals and Institution of the Nigerian National Flag, Anthem, Pledge and respect for all Constituted Authorities.
“All those concerned with Immigration matters are to offer our new citizens quick legal identification. Also, their Local Governments should assist with their integration in the local community to enable them enjoy all the entitlements of a Nigerian citizen,” he said.
In his address titled The more the merrier, Minister of Interior in Rauf Aregbesola, said the beneficiaries were from the United States, Europe, the Americas, Asia, Middle East, Oceania and Africa, “who have seen the good in Nigeria.”
”Without any doubt, Nigeria is a great nation, richly endowed and blessed with great people. Smart people continue to flock to our country to do business with us,’’ Aregbesola said.
He noted that Nigeria would continue to welcome every qualified citizenship applicant.
The Minister who described the conferment ceremony as a celebration of the oneness of the human race, said it is consistent with the mandate of the Ministry and the Buhari regime to lay a solid socio-economic and political foundation that will thrust Nigeria into one of the top 20 economies in the world.
”To achieve this lofty vision,” he said “the government is determined to encourage and attract foreign investors, high-net worth individuals, highly-skilled individuals and people with rare talents and strategic competencies into our country.”
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib Belgore, read citations of select beneficiaries who received certificates and symbols of citizenship from the President.
They include an American citizen, Mrs. Kathryn Barrera, a Spanish citizen, Professor Albert Rovira, an Italian citizen, Mr. Giuseppe Bellini, a Kenyan, Dr. Nasra Ali, a Ugandan, Prof. John Okwii, and a Chadian citizen, Prof. Oumar Adoun.
Speaking on behalf of the new citizens, Barrera, who arrived in Nigeria in 1974 at age 24, thanked the President, staff of the Ministry of Interior for “making their dreams come true.”
Barrera, a proprietress of a Non-Governmental Organisation Mother and Children Welfare Association, caregiver of Orphans and Vulnerable Children including children living with HIV/AIDS, currently lives with 20 children and young adults in training and in university, according to the citation read by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior.