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Atiku is Nigerian citizen by birth, lawyer says


Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar

A legal practitioner, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, has argued that Nigeria’s former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar is legally deemed a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

Ejimakor, who is also a special counsel to the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu spoke at the backdrop of the submission reportedly made by the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition filed by Atiku challenging the “victory” of his APC rival, President Muhammadu Buhari, arguing that Atiku did not qualify to contest the election on the ground that he was not a Nigerian citizen.

The lawyer in a statement, argued: “The legal instrument with which Northern Cameroon was included in Nigeria on May 31, 1961, Section 10 of the (repealed) 1963 Republican Constitution; and Section 6(1)(c), of the Interpretation Act.”

He stated that the said Section 6 provides that “the repeal of an enactment shall not affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability accrued or incurred under the enactment.”

According to him, Atiku’s Nigerian birthright accrued in 1961 (by the Instruments enacted pursuant to the Referendum) and in 1963 when it was ‘enacted by reference’ in the 1963 Constitution.

“Thus, the repeal of the 1963 Constitution by the 1999 Constitution did not affect his previously accrued or vested Nigerian birthright,” he said.

Ejimakor maintained that “under the doctrine of ‘relation-back’, being born in Nigeria means being born in a Nigeria that ‘related-back’ to include those born before 1960 in territories that later became part of Nigeria through Referendum, same territories having been named in the 1999 Constitution as amongst the States and LGAs that constitute Nigeria.”

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