A suit filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa challenging the citizenship and eligibility of former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, to contest the 2023 presidency has been dismissed by a federal high court sitting in Abuja.
The group had approached the court, asking it to determine; “Whether section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), is the sole authority that spells out ways by which a person can become a Nigerian citizen by birth?
“Whether by the provisions of section 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), only a Nigeria citizen by birth can contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
“Whether by the combined interpretation of section 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and giving the circumstances surrounding the birth of the 1st Defendant (Atiku), he can be cleared by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
The group urged the court to, upon determination, proclaim that only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It also urged the court to declare that given the circumstances surrounding Atiku’s birth, he cannot be cleared by either Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to vie for presidency.
Delivering judgment in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/177 on Monday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, struck out the suit for want of merit, describing the plaintiff as a “busy body” which lacked the locus standi to institute the legal action being outside its scope as a Non-Governmental Organization.
Meanwhile, the group, through its lawyer, Mr Akinola Oladimeji, has vowed to take the matter to the Court of Appeal.
“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,” Mr Oladimeji. “However, our client has instructed us to appeal the said decision to the Court of Appeal.
“As a civil society organisation established for the enthronement of rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution, our Client is resolute on ensuring that the law of the land must be strictly adhered to by all comers which is part of the mandate of the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission of Africa.”