Court dismisses suit disputing Atiku’s citizenship

Atiku Abubakar 2011 President campaign Photo by ©mortenfauerby 2010 - all rights reserved

A Federal High Court yesterday in Abuja, ousted a suit disputing former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s declaration to Nigerian citizenship.

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

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

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

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

He warned NGOs to abstain from filing trivial applications targeted at harassing politically exposed Nigerians.

Ekwo added 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 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 approachedourt 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.”

Likewise, a participant in the last national conference, Dr. Chris Eluomonoh, has called on Atiku to step aside and let young and enthusiastic aspirants captain 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 questioned: “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?”

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