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Court fixes date to hear suit challenging Atiku’s citizenship

The federal high court in Abuja has picked September 27 to hear a suit challenging the citizenship of former vice-president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.

Recall that Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, the plaintiff, had filed the suit in 2019 and challenged Abubakar’s eligibility to contest for president.

The group joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), as co-defendants in the suit.

When the case was called on Thursday, Akinola Oladimeji, the plaintiff’s counsel, told the court that he was not prepared to go on with the matter because he only discovered on Wednesday that it was slated for hearing.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo said he was not happy that the date he gave for hearing had become a subject of controversy.

He adjourned the matter until September 27 and warned the plaintiff that it would be the last adjournment for his client.

The plaintiff had told the court that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice-president cannot contest for the top office.

Malami, in an affidavit to support the suit, had said Abubakar was not a Nigerian citizen by birth.

He, therefore, told the court that the former vice-president is not eligible to run for president in Nigeria.

“The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be president of the federal republic of Nigeria,” Malami had submitted.

“The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the federal republic of Nigeria.”

But Abubakar and the PDP, the party through which he contested the last election, insisted that he is a bonafide citizen and asked the court to dismiss the suit for lacking merit.

Abubakar told the court that the suit was filed in an attempt to smear his person and integrity.

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