At the fifth School of Law seminar held on March 2, Benjamin Danpullo described Nigeria’s citizenship law as outdated, and suggested a review.
He argued that the law which presently grants citizenship by naturalization to an immigrant only after staying for 15 years in Nigeria is ‘stringent and unnecessarily long in this age of rapid economic and technological development’.
“This is so unrealistic particularly in this age when the country is in need of speedy economic and technological development which could be facilitated by an influx of foreigners with much to offer and who are desirous of being integrated as persons with Nigerian nationality.”
He also explained the need for a flexible registration process for foreigners who intend to invest in the country.
"We need people to come and help us even if they are not going to be citizens, the process of registering company's or investment is not encouraging to outsiders to come and help us out."
Mr. Danpullo pointed out that this strenuous law only ends up depriving Nigeria of promising skills, human resources, and manpower that can help it grow as a nation because no one will want to invest in a country he might not reside in. It should be reviewed, he maintained.
SoL Dean, Professor Justus Oladejo Olowu, said this stringent law has so many demerits which include encouraging heinous crimes and corruption, and giving Nigeria a negative reputation.
"Many times when people commit crimes abroad, the passports they find on them are Nigerian passports and that spiked the negative reputation of Nigeria."
The solution, Dean Olowu suggested, is the establishment of an agency dedicated to handling naturalization application, while people who work there should be very professional and user-friendly.
Reported by Celine Augustine