•Approves N1.735bn for Sabke Dam in Katsina
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The federal government has granted Nigerian citizenship to 335 foreigners.
The 335 were chosen from 500 applications received by the government.
The Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd), disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister said the last time such exercise was done was in 2013. This, he said, explained the backlog of applications.
He said government rejected 165 citizenship applications
The minister was accompanied by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, andthe Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
Danbazau said out of 500 applications that were considered, 335 were recommended for citizenship approval to FEC and that the council gave its approval yesterday.
The 335 citizenship applications that were approved, he said, included 245 citizenship by naturalisation and 90 citizenship by registration.
He said: “The Ministry of Interior memo is granting of citizenship to non Nigerians who applied. This is a procedure that takes a number of steps. The last time this was done was in 2013. We have some backlog of these applications.
“Over 500 applications that we considered, out of these, 335 were recommended for citizenship and this memo was brought to council to that effect. Citizenship is either by naturalisation or by registration.
“There are 245 that applied for citizenship by naturalisation and the requirements to be met are clearly stated in section 26 of the constitution.
“Then there is citizenship by registration and that is what is popularly known as Niger-wives which is for women in foreign countries who married to Nigerian citizens. That is also clearly spelt out in section 27 of the constitution.
“So, the requirements are there and we considered them. Those who met the requirements, the advisory council recommended and sent to council for approval.
“So, today, FEC approved the recommendations of those who applied, 335 of them. 245 by naturalization and 90 by registration,” he said.
He explained that some of the applications were disqualified based on preliminary investigation.
The minister said: “This is because, there is representation of all the agencies where these applications are taken. So, it is not just the issue of criminality, there are requirements laid down in the constitution and each of these requirements must be met by every applicant.
“The moment any applicant doesn’t meet any of the requirement, check section 26 and 27 of the constitution, they are clearly stated there. If there are security issues, the security agencies will bring them out to say that a person belongs to a given group in-terms of security risk. But apart from that, we followed the rules and regulations, those constitutional requirements must be met.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N1.735 billion for completion of the water supply project in Sabke Dam in Katsina State.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu disclosed after the FEC meeting held in Abuja yesterday.
He said the council also considered memo for the upgrade of some software for the operations of National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and memo to provide information system for the mining sector.
Adamu said: “We presented two memos, one had to do with the completion of the water supply project in Sabke Dam in Katsina State at the cost of N1.735 billion. This is an abandoned project and in line with the current government’s commitment to complete ongoing and abandoned projects as much as possible that the continuation and completion of this project was approved.
“Council approved outlined business case for the concessioning of the Gurara 30 megawatt hydro power plant which is suppose to fit into the industrial area of Kaduna city.”
The minister also disclosed that he inherited 117 ongoing and abandoned projects when he assumed office in November 2015.
He said he inherited debt profile of N89 billion comprising claims by contractors.
According to him, N250 billon is needed to complete the 117 ongoing projects.
Adamu said: “Our task has been to concentrate more on completing some of these projects so we set out to do a technical audit early last year on these projects based on which we prioritized them – top, medium and low priority.
“Some projects that were thought not to be worthwhile were cancelled. This project approved happens to be one of the top priority project that is why we are willing to spend little more money to get the value for which the project was intended.
“We are going to continue like that and we hope to complete at least 25 per cent of that 117 ongoing projects in the 2017 budget. We were able to complete one last year which was the Central Ogbia Water project, the next one will be the Northern Ishan in Edo State.
“These projects cut across water supplies, dams, hydro power and irrigation. They are all being accorded their own priority. That technical audit has helped us in prioritizing our capital projects in 2016 and it helped us to prepare in 2017 budget to enable us have a clear view of which project we want to do.”
He said that the government in the next two years will de-emphasising on new projects so that ongoing projects can be completed.
“Most of these projects have direct impact on the citizenry and so there is no reason why they should be abandoned. This year we will continue to complete these projects notwithstanding that they were initiated by previous government. It doesn’t mean we will not embark on new projects but we will only do new projects that are very critical to the current infrastructural requirements.
“For instance, from 2018 in the ministry of water resources, we intend to embark on setting up additional irrigation and hydro projects. These are the two priority areas for the next three four years.
“So while we are doing these projects we will be praying for new projects so that by the time those projects are completed we will now have an overlap so that as we are finishing some we are starting other ones.
“Everyone is going to be under the framework of the National Water Resources Masterplan which was revived and updated from 2016 to 2030 in accordance with water resources roadmap approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in June last year.
“Some projects had reached advanced staged while others were stuck due to lack of budgetary allocation for several years. For the northern Ishan project for instance we need additional N200 million to be injected into the project which is far less compared to what has been spent which is close to N3 billion. Once the stolen and vandalized components are fixed we will be ready to commission the project.”