1st Award Of Nigerian Citizenship By Registration And Naturalization To 385 Foreign Nationals
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE 1ST 2023 AWARD OF NIGERIAN CITIZENSHIP BY REGISTRATION AND NATURALIZATION TO 385 FOREIGN NATIONALS HELD IN ABUJA ON THE 27TH MAY, 2023.
This is indeed a special event. It is always a thing of joy and pride when foreigners settle in your country, feel at home, thrive and feel so connected to the land that they choose to become one of you. It is indeed an honour, and one we do not take lightly. I welcome you all into the Nigerian family with great pride. Irrespective of your country of descent or origin or your mother tongue, Nigeria is now your country, our history and traditions are now yours.
Nigeria is a nation brimming with cultural diversity. We have a rich history of immigration from all over Africa and beyond. The greatness of our nation can be partly attributed to this diversity. Numerous contributions have been made by immigrants to the Nigerian society throughout our history.
A lot of our current traditions, music, food and art have been richly influenced by people and cultures beyond our borders. We are diverse, but we remain bound and united by a shared history, undergirded by constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality.
We celebrate our diversities believing from knowledge, history and experience that we are strengthened by these very differences.
What does it mean to be a Nigerian? We are a hardworking and innovative people, a people of never-ending optimism and abundant capacity for hope. A warm and generous people, connected by a vast social network of family and friends. Many friends are even closer than family.
We love our festivals, and family celebrations, who can beat the Nigerian wedding? Our music and films are everywhere in the world, and our doctors, engineers, scientists, sports, and literary figures are excelling daily, everywhere. We are resilient and peace-loving.
So much has happened in this country that would have torn other nations apart, yet we are still here, growing and thriving. But let us be clear, we cannot and do not ignore or downplay our challenges and they are many.
And we have said many times that in order to forge ahead and succeed as a nation, we must constantly reinvigorate the social contract with our people and deepen the meaning of our Nigerian citizenship. Nation-building is not a walk in the park, neither is it a day’s work.
Yet while we fully appreciate our challenges, we must not underestimate how far we have come in just six decades of nationhood. Nations centuries older than us are still grappling with identity politics, nationalism, social equality, with internal and external security concerns and the assurance of decent lives and livelihoods for their citizens.
Nigeria also plays a strategic role in the Comity of Nations, especially within Africa. We have always shown ourselves to be our brothers’ keepers, leading peacekeeping forces in several troubled parts of our subregion and the continent, our young men and women in the armed forces have given their lives and wellbeing in defending the peace and security of our brothers.
We have, through ECOWAS and the AU, been at the forefront of regional economic integration and the promotion of the well-being of the African people. The Nigerian citizen is indeed an African citizen of Africa.
Let me therefore charge you today as the newest citizens of Nigeria, to go beyond your pledge of loyalty to the flag, our laws, as well as the high ideals of the anthem and national pledge, to do what you have pledged in your daily lives and in all situations, by earning an honest living, paying taxes and dues, volunteering for national and local causes, making positive and useful contributions to the advancement, progress and well-being of the communities you reside in, you can live up to the words of our anthem …..”To serve our Fatherland With love and strength and faith.”
I thank the Minister of Interior and his team for seeing this process through which has presented us with three hundred and eighty-five (385) new citizens today. I also commend the honourable Minister for the far-reaching innovations he has announced today, all of which have my full and enthusiastic approval.
Today’s occasion marks another opportunity for the application of Chapter III, Sections 26 and 27 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to all of you who have satisfied the requirements of those provisions.
Consequently, I hereby confer upon you Nigerian Citizenship in the categories of Registration and Naturalisation as the case may be. And I direct the Nigerian Immigration Service to expedite the process of issuance of Nigerian Passports to our new fellow Nigerian citizens.
On behalf of your brothers and sisters, the people of Nigeria, I welcome you all as our newest citizens.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.