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Atiku isn’t Nigerian by birth. He is not fit to contest for President — Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is not eligible under the constitution to contest for President.

Malami said this in an affidavit in support of a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 and filed before the court by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA).

EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for President and praying the court to hold among others, 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.

Although the suit was filed before the 2019 presidential election, it is yet to be heard and determined. However, it was mentioned on March 15,  during which Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the suit was ripe for hearing and fixed May 4, for that purpose.

According to The Nation, the AGF in the affidavit said: “The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 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.

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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. He 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.

The effect of the June1, 1961 plebiscite was to have the people of Northern Cameroon integrated  into Nigeria as new citizens of the country, even after Nigeria’s independence. This qualified all those born before the 1961 plebiscIte as citizens of Nigeria, but not Nigerian citizen by birth. 

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Consequently, only citizens born after the 1961 plebiscite are citizens of Nigeria by birth.”

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