By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs says it has been receiving applications from foreign nationals; which include those from the U.S, Europe, Lebanese and other nationalities.
The ministry stressed that it has received 74 applications for naturalization on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs within the last two years under review. It also added that it had registered 400 money lenders across the State within the same period.
Lagos Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, who made this known at a Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating the second year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa in Ikeja, stated that out of the 74 applications for naturalization received by the Ministry, a total number of 35 applications had been screened and recommended to the Federal Ministry of Interior for approval.
He said the Ministry was also in partnership with foreign business owners, who intend to acquire the citizenship of being Nigerians via naturalization, saying that with this partnership of naturalization and special immigrant status, Nigeria, especially Lagos, stands to benefit from the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, while the immigrant business owners also benefit by growing their businesses in one of the biggest markets in the world.
Speaking on the registered 400 money lenders in the State, the Commissioner stated that the ministry was in partnership with the money lenders sector in a way that most of such organisations were mandated to register with the ministry for the coordination of their activities, saying this
had assisted small scale business owners in Lagos to keep their businesses afloat and contributed to the micro-economic growth of businesses in the State.
Meanwhile, Elegushi added that the state was in the process of imputing data of every place of worship located in the State on a centralised database, to allow the State Government have a reliable data of churches, mosques and their locations, with a view to carrying them along with State Government’s policies.
The Commissioner expressed the hope that the policy, because of the effective resource allocation and efficient management inherent in it, is expected to bring about extended benefits to many more churches and mosques in the State, saying the website designed for the enumeration purpose, had over 10,000 data of both Muslim and Christian religious organisations across the State.
He also applauded the state of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence of people belonging to the two major religions in the State.
Elegushi said the feat, among other interventions by the Ministry, was achieved through regular, vigorous and consistent engagements and discussions with religious leaders in the State under the umbrella of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
While giving accounts of stewardship of both the Muslim and Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards, the Commissioner reported that the Ministry went the extra length to partner with the Ministry of Health in ensuring a seamless vaccination exercise for all of its intending pilgrims.
The Commissioner noted that more improvements on the activities of the Ministry would be implemented, while also deploying new methods of delivering excellent service to residents of the State in the areas of its ministerial mandates.