Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that he did not institute any legal action on the citizenship of the former Vice President of Nigeria, and presidential candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar. Mr. Malami made this disclosure in a statement issued by Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, in Abuja on Wednesday.
“I never filed any case before any court in the country challenging the citizenship of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar,’’ he said.
Some media outfits had reported how Mr. Malami, during a court case at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenged Mr. Abubakar’s qualifications to run for the presidency arguing that although Mr. Abubakar was a Nigerian by citizenship, he was not a ‘Nigerian by birth’, hence could not run for office in Nigeria.
“The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be president of the federal republic of Nigeria,” Mr. Malami was reported to have 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.
“The first defendant was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon. By the plebiscite of 1961, the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria.
“The first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”
But Mr. Malami, in his statement on Wednesday said the matter in contention was part of the 2019 pre-election matters instituted by a Civil Society Organisation – the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa – in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019.
He noted that it was in respect of it that Mr. Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation were made co-defendants. And the issue had been widely reported by the media since April 2019.
“It is unfortunate that stale news stories capable of causing confusion are repackaged and presented to the general public as current news,” the minister said.