Save Nigeria Movement faults issuance of Brown Card to foreigners
Save Nigeria Movement (SNM), yesterday, faulted issuance of Brown Card, aimed at granting permanent residency to foreigners in the country, in breach of extant provision of the law.
SNM Convener, Rev. Solomon Semaka, in a statement, maintained that eligibility for permanent residency or Nigerian citizenship can only be sanctioned by the Constitution.
The group expressed concern over approval granted for issuance of the card at the twilight of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. It said what the card is designed to do is already being handled by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), through its technical partners, noting that any loopholes observed should be channeled through existing programmes, instead of creating new contracts.
The group was reacting to reports that the Federal Government introduced the card as a document that confers permanent residency status and citizenship on foreigners.
Part of the reasons adduced by former Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, for introducing the card was to shorten the 15-year waiting period for foreigners to five years, as is the case in countries like the United States of America.
Semaka said: “The Minister of Interior acknowledged that only a Constitution amendment could change the eligibility criteria for gaining Nigerian citizenship in a speech delivered during the conferment of citizenship on foreigners on May 27.
“So, any pronouncement to this effect that does not accommodate Constitution amendment is only a wish.” He added: “Introducing the brown card is tantamount to introducing a parallel platform for escapee defaulters in the payment for existing programmes.
“Our investigations have shown that unscrupulous agents have already started calling expatriates on their data base to pay as much $5,000, with a promise that they could grant them residency and citizenship application waivers in the guise of the Brown Card, even when the process to its introduction is still a long way to go.
“This is a sign of things to come, if you open multiple channels of granting permanent residency status to foreigners in Nigeria.”