2023 Presidency: Court dismisses suit challenging Atiku’s citizenship

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a suit that sought to disqualify former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, from vying for the presidency in 2023.

The suit instituted by a non-governmental organisation, Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, challenged Atiku’s eligibility on the premise that he is not a Nigerian by birth.

However, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the NGO had no legal right to query the citizenship of the former Vice President and lacks the locus standi to institute the legal action.

He cautioned the NGO to refrain from filing frivolous applications targeted at harrassing politically exposed Nigerians.

However, the plaintiff’s legal team has expressed dissatisfaction with the judgement and vowed to appeal against it.

Kayode Ajulo, the lead counsel for the plaintiff said, the court struck out of the suit on the grounds of the locus of the plaintiff “despite superior court’s decision on the legality of an incorporated organisation to institute actions for the protection of the extant provisions of the constitution and statutes.”

“While we commend the court for the wealth of industry of the presiding judge, it is quite instructive that though the matter was merely struck out, same can be refiled.

“However our client has instructed us to appeal the said decision to the Court of Appeal,” the lawyer said.

He noted that as a civil society organisation “established for the enthronement of rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution”, his client would ensure that the law of the land must be strictly adhered to by all comers.

“Without prejudice to the judgment of the court,” Mr Ajulo said, “we have commenced our client’s further brief to appeal and to file a motion for injunction pending appeal for an order of the court restraining Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from parading himself as a Nigerian Citizen by birth in contravention of the extant provisions of Sections 25 and 131 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.”




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