159 Nigerians renounce citizenship, as NIS prints 1.7m int’l passports in 2022 – Aregbesola
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has disclosed that in 2022 alone, a total of 159 Nigerians renounced their citizenship of the country, just as he also added that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) printed about 1.7 million passports in the same year under review.
Speaking during the during the 64th session of the State House Press Briefing which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Thursday, Ogbeni Aregbesola said up to 70 foreign nationals were deported from Nigeria in two years, adding that the affected foreigners were repatriated for different infractions.
The minister who did not give specific reasons for the deportation of the foreign nationals, however, described the issue as ‘extremely confidential,’ while adding that ‘the majority of those deported were from North Korea, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and a host of others.’
According to the minister, the Ministry of Interior established a Special Task Force in December 2020 to audit the level of compliance with the Immigration Regulations and Immigration Act of 2015 as well as with administrative guidelines issued by the Ministry of Interior.
According to him, this followed concerns “about the increasing rate of non-compliance with and total disregard for the rules and regulations surrounding the utilisation of Expatriate Quota and rampant abuses of the facility.”
Aregbesola said that a committee reviewed the Handbook on Expatriate Quota Administration to address some issues in the expatriate quota system for the country.
The issues, he stated, included a reduction of the 10-year life span of an expatriate quota position to seven years after which the work must the localised; a review of the requirements for the processing of the expatriate quota service; and that only jobs on the critical skills list would be considered for expatriate quota positions upon sufficient proof by the individual employers that the positions cannot be filled by Nigerians.
Speaking further, the minister disclosed that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) printed about 1.7 million passports in 2022, just as he insisted that the number produced last year was unprecedented in the annals of Nigeria.
Aregbesola said that despite the challenges faced by the NIS, the service met about 80 per cent of the applications made last year for passports.
“There is a major reformation going on in the issuance of passport administration. We are digitising the process. I planned to fully digitise the Ikoyi Registry by the end of last year, but we have not fully achieved that.
“When this process is completed, applicants will no longer bring anything anymore. You complete the process online, and you don’t need an agent by that time. There can’t be racketeering.”
Also remarking at the press briefing, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Shuiab Belgore while adding to on the application for Nigerian citizenship and Nigerians who renounced their citizens, said the Ministry has registered a total of 309 Nigerians who renounced their citizenship.
“Between 2006 and 2021, 150 Nigerians renounced their citizenship. In 2022 alone 159 Nigerians renounced their citizenship.”
Belgore said in November last year the country had a total number of 286 new Nigerians, out of which 208 were by naturalisation, while 78 were by registration.
He explained that registration meant spouses of Nigerian citizens who have now become Nigerians.
He added that the advisory committee on Nigerian citizenship would meet on the 7th of February to consider another 350 applications for naturalization after which the successful applicant would be sent to the President-in-Council for approval.