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Court throws out suit challenging Atiku’s citizenship

By Adamu Abuh and Ameh Ochojila, Abuja
22 February 2022   |   3:15 am
A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed a suit challenging former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s claim to Nigerian citizenship...

Atiku. Photo/Facebook/Atiku Abubakar

• ‘Ex-VP, Tinubu should give way for energetic aspirants’

A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed a suit challenging former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s claim to Nigerian citizenship.

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo struck out the suit instituted by Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa.

The court held that the non-governmental organisation (NGO) has no legal right to query the citizenship of the former Vice President.

Ekwo said the NGO, having been registered under Company and Allied Matters Act with special functions, could not jump into public interest litigation.

He cautioned NGOs to refrain from filing frivolous applications targeted at harassing politically exposed Nigerians.

Ekwo held that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the legal action, describing Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa as a “busy body and meddlesome interloper”.

The group had asked the court to disqualify Atiku as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and restrain him from contesting the February 16, 2019, presidential election over alleged doubts surrounding his citizenship.

The suit, which was filed on February 11, 2019, has Atiku, PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney General of the Federation, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Adamawa State as defendants.

The plaintiff had approached the court for interpretation of Sections 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

The plaintiff prayed for “a declaration that by the combined interpretation of Sections 25(l) & (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution, and given the circumstances surrounding Atiku’s birth, he cannot be cleared by PDP and INEC to contest for post of president.”

MEANWHILE, a participant in the last national conference, Dr. Chris Eluomonoh, has called on Atiku to step aside and allow young and energetic aspirants pilot affairs of the country.

Speaking during the induction ceremony and launch of The Nigeria Agenda in Awka, at the weekend, he also extended the call to National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He asked: “I can’t really understand what is happening. What business do Atiku and Tinubu still have in the leadership of Nigeria? Do we want a case where they will sleep on the files sent to them to be treated?

“I am 73 and I feel I have taken all that I need from the country. Why must we continue to recycle those who belong to the independence era, shortchanging other generations?”