Court berates NGO for challenging Atiku’s citizenship, strikes out suit

Ogunsakin Mustapha
2 Min Read
Alhaji Abubakar Atiku

By Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja Monday struck out a suit challenging the Nigerian citizenship of former Vice President, and Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

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

The court held that the Non Governmental Organization NGO had no legal right in the first instance to query the citizenship of the former Vice President.

Justice Ekwo said that the NGO having been registered under Company and Allied Matters Act with special functions cannot jump into Public Interest Litigation that was not part of the objective.

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

In addition, Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiff lacks the locus standi to institute the legal action, describing them as “busy body and middlesome interlopers.

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

The suit which was filed on 11th February, 2019, has Atiku, PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as the Attorney General of Adamawa state as defendants
Specifically, the plaintiff had approached the court for an interpretation of Sections 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the 1999 Constitution.

By the suit, 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”.

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