On Friday, the federal government unveiled a National Action Plan to stop and stop the appearance of new cases of statelessness in the nation.
When a person is not recognized by any state as a citizen under the operation of that state’s laws, they are said to be stateless.
Statelessness, according to Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, breaches the nondiscrimination clause of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, which he said in a speech at the ceremony in Abuja (as amended).
Statelessness, he continued, represents a security risk to the nation and must be eradicated immediately.
“A stateless person without allegiance or commitment to a state remains a veritable security risk, especially when statelessness is caused by war, disputed territories, nomadic-pastoralist migration, foundlings, etc.
“Statelessness is an affront on personal dignity, liberty, and human rights of affected persons. As such, no person should be allowed to pass through such a horrific situation. We should recognise that it is an unfortunate situation foisted on affected persons by circumstance. I assure you that we shall provide decisive, visionary and exemplary leadership to achieve zero-level stateless person status by 2024.“
He added that chapter III, Section 25 (1) (b), which stipulates that “every person born in Nigeria after the date of independence whose parents or any of whose grandparents is a Citizen of Nigeria by birth” has been highlighted as having discriminatory provisions. Children of Naturalized Nigerians, whose parents have obtained Nigerian citizenship, are not citizens of Nigeria by birth and have not benefited from the constitution’s requirement to have their births registered.
“I have submitted a memo to the President for the reinstatement of grant of Nigerian citizenship by confirmation to these categories of stateless persons in line with provision of Chapter III (2) (I) as administrative relief, pending amendment of relevant laws to clear any ambiguity. This will reduce existing situations as well as prevent new cases of childhood statelessness as it relates to children of naturalised Nigerians.
”Chapter III, Section 26 (1-2a) states: – subject to the provisions of this Section 28 of this Constitution, a person whom the provisions of this Section apply may be registered as Citizens of Nigeria; any woman who is a or has been married to a Citizen of Nigeria,” the minister said.
Aregbesola claimed that in order to lessen the impact of these discriminatory rules, he had also submitted a request to the President asking for permission to reinstate the Temporary Resident Permit for certain groups of people as a means of administrative relief to prevent statelessness.