Atiku not a Nigerian, ineligible for presidency –Malami tells Court

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, was ineligible to vie for president of Nigeria.

Malami said the former vice president whose home town, Jada, was formerly a part of Northern Cameroon, is not constitutionally qualified to contest for the office of president of the country because he is not a Nigerian by birth and that he acquired Nigerian citizenship following a plebiscite that held in 1961.

The AGF argued that, having not been born a Nigerian or by Nigerian parents, and having not met the provisions of Sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution, Atiku, would be violating Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act should he put himself forward as a presidential candidate.

“The first defendant (Atiku) was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon. By the plebiscite of 1961, the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria. The first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite,” Malami argued in support of a suit lodged against Atiku by a group under the aegis of Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa.

Aside Atiku, other defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/177 are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Malami.

Meanwhile, both Atiku and PDP had since asked the court to dismiss the suit which they said was grossly lacking in merit.

In a preliminary objection be jointly filed with the PDP, Atiku, maintained that he is “a bonafide citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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