Chaos and Confusion, trail the introduction of Nigerian ‘Brown Card

There is currently chaos and confusion over the hurried introduction of “Brown Card”, a new document for permanent residency for foreigners in Nigeria by the immediate past government. The innovation, which was announced by the former minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, was packaged without the input of relevant agencies and stakeholders. Aregbesola made the announcement at the conferral ceremony for 385 foreigners.

However, there has been apprehension and confusion since the introduction as stakeholders are querying the hurried nature of the new policy. These worries revolve around the execution, and the intention of this policy. A source close to the new administration disclosed that the policy is being reviewed.

Currently, there are reports of unscrupulous ISIS characters using the back door routes with ECOWAS passports from countries such as Guinea Bissau thronging through West Africa. Who can key into this Brown Card.

It would be recalled that towards the twilight of the previous administration, many policies and bills were signed which are expected to benefit Nigerians in the long run. However, this is one of those policies that is being revisited by the new administration to ensure that the interest of Nigeria, overrides the interest of a few.

Foreign nationals who wish to make Nigeria their home and those planning to invest in the country can now become citizens through a legal instrument called “The Brown Card.”

The announcement was made in Abuja by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola during a ceremony to confer citizenship on 385 deserving foreign nationals from different countries.

The minister confirmed that the Buhari administration approved the highest number of naturalised citizens in the country’s history.

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Aregbesola said the government had laid a solid socio-economic and political foundation that would elevate Nigeria into one of the 20 world’s biggest economies.

He expressed Nigeria’s determination to attract foreign investors, resourceful individuals and people with rare talents and unbounded energy into the country.

“Between 2011 and 2013, 266 foreigners became Nigerians. In 2017, 335 people took up Nigerian citizenship. Last year, 286 foreigners, and now 385, making a total of 1006.

I am still not pleased with this figure. In Europe and America, thousands of foreigners are inducted into citizenship every year”, the minister added.

Aregbesola said the bane of the smooth pathway to Nigerian citizenship is the constitutional requirement of continuous residency in Nigeria for 15 years.

He called it “a huge disincentive”, saying it is five years in the United States and most European countries where young and resourceful brains are absorbed “through easy pathways”.

The minister urged relevant institutions to consider reducing the number of years in the next effort at amendment to the constitution.

“I am happy to announce the Brown Card as the legal instrument to Permanent Residency. The Minister of Interior is now invested with the authority to confer Permanent Residency on non-Nigerians,” he said.


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