Over 300 Nigerians have renounced their citizenship in the last 16 years, with over half of them renouncing last year, an official said Thursday.
“Down to those Nigerians who renounce their citizenship, so far we have registered a total of 309,” said Shuaib Belgore, the permanent secretary of the interior ministry.
Mr Belgore, adressing journalists at the State House in Abuja, said that between 2006 and 2021, 150 Nigerians renounced their citizenship while 159 renounced in 2022 alone.
He did not state the reasons why the Nigerians renounced their citizenship. However, there has been a mass migration of Nigerians in recent years, some of whom have sought to be citizens of other countries.
While many countries including the US allow for dual citizenship, others like Austria do not, thus necessitating applicants to renounce the citizenship of their previous country.
At the same briefing where Mr Belgore spoke, the interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola, also lamented the mass migration of Nigerians.
He said Nigeria issued about 1.9 million passports (1,899,683) to citizens in 2022, the highest in seven years.
He said the increase is as a result of the massive exodus of Nigerians out of the country in search of greener pastures.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported the mass migration of Nigerians, mostly middle class, seeking greener pastures. The understaffed health sector is arguably the most hit with hundreds of doctors leaving annually for countries such as the UK, Canada and South Africa.
Mr Aregbesola said the mass migration is having a huge impact on the functions of his ministry which issues passports through the immigration service.
“It has a huge impact because there is a heavy demand on passport issuance. And if you look at the trend it is more in the South than in the North and we are responding to it,” Mr Aregbesola said.
Others seek to be Nigerians
However, while scores of people are renouncing their Nigerian citizenship, many others seek to be citizens of the country.
Mr Belgore said 286 people took up Nigerian citizenship in 2022, adding that the Advisory Committee on Nigerian citizenship will sit on 7 February to consider another 350 applications for naturalisation.
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