Court fixed Sept 27 to hear suit querying citizenship of Atiku Abubakar

The Federal High court Abuja set Thursday September 27 to hear a lawsuit filed by the incorporated trustees of the Equality Mission for Africa, a group, challenging the citizen  of former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. 

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in 2019 challenging Abubakar’s eligibility to run for president. 

When the case was called, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr. Akinola Oladimeji, told the court that he was not ready to continue the case.

 Oladimeji told the court that it was only on Wednesday that he got wind that the case was due to be heard on Thursday since the next adjournment date to his knowledge was September 20.

 The judge, Judge Inyang Ekwo then sought to find from the clerk of the court whether the parties had been informed of the date and the clerk replied in the affirmative. 

The judge said in a brief ruling that he was not happy to have given a court date that had become a subject of controversy. 

However, he adjourned the case until September 27 and warned the plaintiff that this would be the last adjournment for his client. NAN reports that the plaintiff, a civil society organization in trial no. FHC / ABJ / CS / 177/2019 challenges Abubakar’s citizenship on the grounds that he was not born in Nigeria.

The plaintiff joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP),the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Federation Prosecutor General as co-defendants in the trial.

 The plaintiff formulated the following questions for the court’s decision: “Is Article 25 of the Constitution the only authority which sets out the means by which a person can become a Nigerian citizen by birth?”

 “Whether under the provisions of Article 131 (a) of the constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can run for president. Whether through the combined interpretation of Article 25 (1) (2) and 131 (a) of the constitution, and given the circumstances surrounding Abubakar’s birth, it may be authorized by the PDP and the ‘INEC to run for president.

 “The plaintiff considered that if the answers to the questions were resolved in his favor, he should be entitled to the following remedies:” 

A declaration that, under the provisions of Article 131 (a) of the constitution, only a Nigerian citizen of birth may challenge for the office of the president.

 “A statement that, by the combined interpretation of Articles 25 (1) (2) and 131 (a) of the constitution, and taking into account the circumstances surrounding the birth of Abubakar , he cannot be authorized by the PDP and INEC to run for president.

The plaintiff also asked the court for any order that it might seem appropriate to make in the circumstances of the request.

However, Abubakar and the PDP, on the platform on which he contested the last election, asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of merit.

In their jointly filed notice of objection, they insisted that the former vice-president was a bona fide citizen of Nigeria.

Abubakar also said that in addition to being Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, he held many public and private positions, including as Governor of Adamawa and was a commissioned officer in the customs service. Nigerian.

He said his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Nigeria and lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.

He told the court that the lawsuit was filed in bad faith with the aim of harming his person and his integrity.

Abubakar also objected to the complainant’s right to challenge his nationality, arguing that he had failed to demonstrate his interest above other citizens of Nigeria to have the right to bring proceedings in court on the question.